H1N1 Update: November 12

The College has been providing weekly updates on the number of students exhibiting flu-like symptoms since the academic year began.

Since the start of the semester, 208 students have come forward with such symptoms, and all have since returned to classes. With no new cases reported since November 5, the College is discontinuing its weekly updates; they will resume if and when conditions warrant.

The College encourages students, faculty and staff to remain diligent with regard to following steps to reduce risk of infection (See "Reducing Risk" below). Students traveling home over the Thanksgiving holiday and winter break who are able to get vaccinated are encouraged to do so.

H1N1 Vaccine Update

The College has received its first allotment of 100 doses of the H1N1 vaccine. These doses are injectable and contain an inactive form of the H1N1 virus. The vaccine is being provided to Bowdoin students at no cost.

Since a limited amount of H1N1 vaccine is currently available, the Maine Department of Public Health has notified the College that this first batch is reserved for students with conditions that pose a high risk of complications from influenza. The vaccine will be made available to other students as soon as additional supplies have been received.

The CDC recommends that you be vaccinated against H1N1 virus even if you have been diagnosed with influenza caused by the H1N1 virus.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who will get the first round of vaccines?
Bowdoin will initially offer the vaccine by appointment only to those students who are at a high risk of complication from influenza as a result of asthma, diabetes, immune deficiency (due to disease or medication) or other conditions as detailed here.

How do I schedule my vaccination?
If you fall into a high-risk category, please e-mail Wendy Sansone ( beginning Wednesday, November 3. She will contact you to schedule your appointment.

Are there any side effects?
The CDC expects that side effects from the 2009 H1N1 vaccination will be rare. If side effects do occur, they will likely be similar to those experienced with the seasonal influenza vaccine. Potential side effects include soreness, redness, or swelling at the site of the injection; fainting (mainly adolescents); and headache, muscle aches, fever and nausea. If these problems occur, they will probably begin soon after the injection and last 1-2 days. Life-threatening allergic reactions to vaccines are very rare.

If you have questions or concerns about the vaccination or the H1N1 virus, please contact the Health Center at ext. 3770.

Reducing Risk

The Centers for Disease Control recommends the following steps to reduce your risk of becoming infected:

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with sleeve or elbow
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Wash hands frequently, especially after coughing or sneezing

For More Information

The College maintains a Web site that provides extensive information about the H1N1 virus, a link to Bowdoin's Epidemic Response Plan, and archived advisories for students and their families, faculty, staff and families with children at the Bowdoin College Children's Center.

Additional information is also available at these sites:

Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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