Students not lining up for H1N1 vaccination

Tallahassee received its first doses of the H1N1 flu virus vaccine in October and some Florida A & M students are still not immunized against the virus.

FAMU held the Operation Immunization   event where students could get the immunization for free at the school’s annual health fair on Oct. 22.

“I haven’t received the vaccine and I won’t consider getting the swine flu vaccine either,” said Aisha Terry, 22, a political science student from Detroit.

Others feel the vaccine was produced too fast and not yet ready to be given out to the public.

“I’m not taking the vaccine because it will probably be recalled,” said Andrea Jackson, 22, a fourth-year psychology student from Miami. “Just like those commercials when you see them saying if you’ve taken this or that, you may be eligible for a settlement. It’s way too soon and too risky.”

Although some students are weary of the new vaccine, health officials said students should take the H1N1 virus seriously and consider the advantages of taking the vaccine.

Homer Rice, an administrator at Leon County Health Department, said: “I think that everyone should take this vaccine.  I know a lot of people are harping back at the early ‘70s when we did have an outbreak and there was a vaccine that was rushed into production…we’ve come a long way since then. This vaccine is absolutely safe.”

Despite the school’s efforts, some students still blame not being informed as their reason for not getting the vaccine.

Yashika Howzell, 18, a first-year physical therapy student from Miramar said she knew nothing about the school’s immunization clinic.

“No, I haven’t got the swine flu shot because it never came up,” Howzell said. “I didn’t know anything about it.”

Swine flu is more widespread now than it has ever been, and has resulted in more than 1,000 U.S. deaths so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In October, the Florida Department of Health spokesperson Susan Smith said the H1N1 death toll climbed to 131 in Florida.

Although not everyone has died after a battle with the deadly virus some of the infirmed said they felt sicker than ever while experiencing complications from the H1N1 flu virus.

Celeste Williams, a teacher at Gretchen Everhart School, had her first encounter with the virus in October and she described it as one of the most painful experiences of her life.

“You feel like something slung [you] on the ground and in the mud,” Williams said. “You have really bad headaches. You’re congested. Your head is doubly stopped up and your body is aching constantly with fever. I wouldn’t wish that on an ant.”

Williams said the getting the vaccine is worth avoiding the pain that comes along with the H1N1 virus.

“You can’t compare it… to anything,” Williams said. “Not even delivering a baby.”