Here at Columbia University Medical Center, all employees and students may receive, at no charge, influenza vaccine every year. I just went to the lobby of the Milstein Hospital, showed my ID, and received the seasonal influenza vaccine. Here is the proof:
As I’ve written before, vaccine records provide interesting information. The medical center administration has clearly printed many of these slips to accommodate those who will be receiving the pandemic H1N1 vaccine in a few weeks. Below ‘Seasonal Influenza Vaccine’, which is checked, is ‘H1N1 Vaccine #1 DOSE’. They have left open the possibility that more than one dose will be required, despite a published study – using CSL vaccine – that one dose induces protective immunity.
The nurse who administered the vaccine placed a small sticker on the record, which indicates that the preparation that I received, Afluria®, was manufactured by CSL Biotherapies, an Australian company and a recent (2007) entrant into the US influenza vaccine market. Using a sticker obviously allows the medical center to purchase vaccine from different suppliers. I’ll be interested to know the supplier of the pandemic H1N1 vaccine.
The vaccine that I received is trivalent. It contains three different seasonal influenza virus strains: A/Brisbane/59/2007 (H1N1); A/Brisbane/10/2007 (H3N2); B/Brisbane/60/2008. The viral strains were propagated in embryonated hen eggs, inactivated with formalin, and disrupted with detergent.
The nurse who administered the vaccine asked me the following questions: “Do you have allergies to eggs or latex; are you taking coumadin; do you have a history of Guillain-Barre (which she mispronounced), do you have a fever”? She also told me to put ice on the inoculation site if it became sore, that “all the antibodies I was going to develop would appear in 2-3 weeks”, and that any flu-like symptoms that result will last for a day or two.
While I waited, three other employees lined up for their immunizations. And they were giving out lollipops or tootsie rolls.