Flu Vaccine (H1N1 and Seasonal) Update

As we near the end of the fall quarter, here are some updates on flu vaccine availability at Wilce:

Seasonal Vaccine

We will complete our seasonal flu vaccine outreach this Friday, November 20, with our final 2009 program in the SHS Pharmacy. Seasonal vaccine will still be available by appointment, at a cost of $36.

H1N1 vaccine

We continue moving through the priority tiers established by the Ohio Department of Health.  Beginning this week, students 24 years and under WITH CHRONIC MEDICAL CONDITIONS will be invited to H1N1 vaccine clinics.  If you are already signed up with the H1N1 telephone system, watch your inbox for more information.  If you have not signed up at 614-514-4161, please do so if you are interested in getting H1N1 vaccine. 

Please call 614-292-4321 or email us at shs@osu.edu if you have questions.


Posted in flu

Why can’t I be seen right now!?


Ok, so you woke up this morning with a sore throat and a cough. You feel hot then cold.

You feel too crappy to go to class, and the cough drops and Dayquil aren’t cutting it.  Thoughts of flesh eating strep, H1N1, and rheumatic fever flash through your mind. You see yourself moaning in a hospital bed and on dialysis.

Aha! The Wilce Student Health Center! What a thought!  And you can get a note for missing class (and even better, that awful Spanish midterm)!

So you dial 292-4321 and wait. And wait. And wait. You put the phone on speaker and start doing the dishes. And wait. You use the bathroom.  And wait.  Oh, the Muzak is so awful.

What is taking so &%@# long!?  You don’t want to wait on hold forever only to be told there are no appointments left.  So what can you do to improve my chances of being seen at the Student Health Center on the same day!?

BE EARLY: Remember, the early bird gets the worm!  Our phones are open at 7:30 am, and we reserve a large block of same day appointments for sick students every day.  The earlier you call (before 10am is best), the better the chance that you’ll find an open spot that fits your schedule.  Unfortunately, you can’t count on coming in at 2 or 3 o’clock and getting an instant appointment.  By 3 pm the phones have been ringing for over 7 ½ hours with hundreds of sick students!

BE FLEXIBLE: We know your schedules are very hectic and often not under your control and we truly do everything we can to accommodate your needs.  We’re now open until 7pm Monday through Thursday (5pm on Fridays) as well as 9am-1pm on Saturdays when there’s no home football games.  But there will be times when our availability is limited and you may have to miss class to see a doctor.  Most professors are pretty understanding when it comes to the flu.

BE SPECIFIC: Have a thermometer on hand and be specific about your symptoms.  Don’t just call and say “I’m sick.”  Check out our website for flu information and the University’s flu website for instructions in dealing with missed classes.  There is just no way we can see every student who develops cold symptoms this time of year.  The guidelines on these websites are designed to let you know when you need to be evaluated by a health care provider and when it’s OK to try some things at home first.  but when in doubt, give us a call.  

BE PATIENT:  Thanks to H1N1, we are in the midst of an extremely busy flu season.  We are being inundated with hundreds of students who are calling or walking into the Health Center every day and while we are doing our best to meet their needs, we realize that some of them are going to have a less than great experience.  But hurling every four letter word you can think of at us won’t help.  We do value your feedback, but please remember that there are appropriate ways for you to give it.  You can fill out the patient comment forms near the main entrance of our building, or speak to our Patient Advocate.

We hope that you won’t need to see us this winter, but if you do, rest assured that we’ll do our best to make it as positive experience as possible for you!

Jonda Hapner-Yengo, RN (Student Health Services)

H1N1line – trouble with connection

We have heard from a few students who have had trouble getting connected to the H1N1line (614-514-4161) using an out-of-town line.   There is now an alternate telephone number to access the H1N1 System.  It is: 614.292.3581 (614.292.FLU1). 

Both lines are up and working, so you will only need to use the alternate number if you had trouble with the main number.

From a campus telephone: 4-4161 or 2-3581

From the Columbus area: 514-4161 or 292-3581

If calling via Long distance: 614-514-4161 or 614-292-3581

If you are interested in getting the H1N1 vaccine on campus, please use this system to get scheduled for a clinic. SO FAR, over 4300 students have called.

Posted in flu

H1N1line – trouble with Student ID number??

 We are getting a number of questions related to the H1N1 vaccine telephone system and the Student ID number.  This is an 8 or 9 digit number assigned to you as a student in the Student Information System.  Newer BuckID cards have it printed just above the BuckID number. 

Some older BuckID cards do not have the ID number listed. If this is the case for you, you will need to go to www.buckeyelink.osu.edu and scroll down to “Personal Information”. Click on “Lookup your OSU ID Number” and follow the prompts. 

Roger Miller, MD for BuckMD


Posted in flu

Intranasal steroids and the Flumist vaccine

photo: PRNewsFoto

Q: Can someone who is using an intranasal steroid such as fluticasone still receive the Flumist version of the flu vaccine?

A:  Great question!  Flumist does not list any specifics but I spoke with Glaxo-Smith-Kline, the manufacturer of the intranasal steroid Flonase (fluticasone) and they advised against using the nasal vaccine if you are currently using an intranasal steroid.  The drug information insert that comes with fluticasone also recommends against using intranasal steroids if you have a viral infection present.

Other common intranasal steroids include mometasone (Nasonex), triamcinolone (Nasocort), budesonide (Rhinocort) and beclamethasone (Vancenase, Beconase).  If you are using any of these medications, be sure to talk with your health care provider prior to receiving a nasal spray version of the flu vaccine.

Roger Miller, MD (Ohio State University Student Health Services)

Is the H1N1 vaccine safe??


Q: How can they make the H1N1 vaccine so fast and still know if it is safe?

A: The flu virus constantly changes, so a new seasonal flu vaccine is made every year.  Flu strains for the next season are selected during the winter and the vaccine is ready by September; this includes performing clinical trials and FDA approval.  Since H1N1 is really just a new influenza virus, the technology to make it is already in place so its production isn’t as rushed as it may seem. 

The H1N1 vaccine has been extensively tested and approved by the FDA.  As of October 23, 2009, there have been 1198 scholarly articles published about the vaccine, 218 of which are specifically about the clinical trials used to test it.  SO…this vaccine is considered to be just as safe and effective as the regular vaccine, which has a track record of safety dating back to the 1940’s.

Let me put it another way.  I am going to be vaccinated and I’m recommending it to all the members of my family according to their health status.

Roger Miller, MD (Ohio State Student Health Services) 

Where’s My Shot?


Q: Where can I find a regular flu shot?

A: Student Health is continuing our fall outreach with the seasonal (regular) flu vaccine until we use up our supply or you stop asking for it, whichever comes first.  A lot of places are short on the regular flu vaccine right now because several of the vaccine companies had to stop making it in order to make H1N1 vaccine.  Our regular flu season starts right around January, and we hope the vaccine supply will improve before then.

Q: When is Student Health going to give H1N1 shots?

A: Everything is in place for us to start giving these shots – all we need is the vaccine!  We’ll let you know as soon as it arrives.  Registering on the H1N1line (614-514-4161 or 4-4161 from a campus phone) will help us immensely in getting the vaccine to everyone who needs it.  If you are interested in getting the shot, please call to register.

Stay tuned on the SHS web page and flu.osu.edu for more updates.

Roger Miller, MD (Ohio State Student Health Services)

Is it safe to get the regular flu shot and H1N1 flu shot together?

click to enlarge

Q: If I already had the regular flu shot, is it safe for me to get the H1N1 flu shot when it becoms available?

A: The H1N1 vaccine is new, but it is being made in the same way that the regular flu vaccine is made every year, so potential reactions will likely be the same: sore arm, feeling tired for a day… that’s about it.  All the current information states that it is safe to take both an H1N1 and a regular flu shot, even on the same day. 

For the latest information on the flu on campus, keep checking here.

Roger Miller, MD (The Ohio State University Student Health Services)

What the flu really feels like

Mike Commodore

One of the best stories in yesterday’s Columbus Dispatch wasn’t written by a reporter. Mike Commodore, a defenseman for the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, wrote a first person account of his recent bout with the flu.  You can read it here.

Commodore might have a career as a writer after he gets done pounding opponents into the ice at Nationwide Arena.   His description is vivid, accurate and captures the essence of what the flu really does to you far better than a list of symptoms from the CDC.

Hockey players are tough.  Insanely tough.  They have gashes in their face stitched up without anesthesia and go back out on the ice for their next shift without missing a beat.  They voluntarily stand in front of a piece of frozen vulcanized rubber coming at them at over 70 MPH.  They spend 82 nights a year skating around an ice rink at full speed slamming into other behemonths on skates whose sole mission in life is to knock them into next week – all for the chance to get to the playoffs where things really get intense. 

Commodore’s one of the toughest of the tough, and this little tiny virus knocked him out far worse than any opponenent ever did.  So learn from Mike and do your best to avoid the flu this season.  Stay away from people who are sick, use plenty of hand sanitizer, avoid touching your eyes or mouth, cough or sneeze into a tissue and throw it away (or into a sleeve if you don’t have a tissue) and if you develop flu symptoms yourself, stay away from others, get lots of rest and seek medical attention if your symptoms become severe.

Keep checking in here for the most up-to-the-minute information about the flu situation on campus. And if you get a chance, head down to the arena district to check out a Blue Jackets game.  Once you experience NHL Hockey in person, you’ll be a fan for life!

John A. Vaughn, MD (The Ohio State University Student Health Services)

Posted in flu

Who can get a flu shot and how much does it cost?

We have received many inquiries from students and parents regarding seasonal flu immunization (flu shots) at the Student Health Center – specifically, who can get one and how much does it cost?  Here is what you need to know: 

Any registered student is eligible to receive a flu shot.  Spouses and partners of students are eligible to receive a flu shot only during a mass immunization program.

Students insured under policies other than the Comprehensive Student Health Insurance Plan and dependents of students are expected to pay at the time of service.

The cost for flu injections administered during mass programs, scheduled 2nd floor clinic programs or during pharmacy programs is $25.  This cost is covered in full for students insured under the Comprehensive Student Health Insurance Plan. 

The cost for flu injections administered individually or during an office visit is $36.  This cost is covered at 50% under the Comprehensive Student Health Insurance Plan. 

The cost of immunizations is specifically excluded under the WilceCare Supplement, for dependents insured under the Comprehensive Student Health Insurance Plan and when administered in any facility other than the Student Health Center under the Comprehensive Student Health Insurance Plan.

Details of the distribution and costs associated with administration of the H1N1 vaccinations are still being determined.  Once we have more specific details they will be shared in a future communication. 

Our pharmacy is currently giving flu shots from 8-11am every day – no appointment is necessary.  Click here to see a calendar with the dates and times of our flu shot clinic programs (be sure to scroll to October as well).

Have a great fall quarter!

Susan Henn  (Manager, Patient Relations, Ohio State Student Health Services)


Posted in flu