Two days after reporting that it had run out of the flu vaccine, Cornell Health has restocked its shelves and can once again vaccinate Cornellians, two Cornell Health administrators announced in a letter to The Sun on Sunday night.
The campus health center ran out of vaccinations late last week despite ordering enough last semester to vaccinate 10,000 people — 2,000 more than it usually prepares to vaccinate. The restocking was announced in a letter to the editor from Cornell Health’s executive director, Dr. Kent Bullis, and its medical director, Dr. Anne Jones ’04, sent late on Sunday night.
Unlike in typical years, Bullis and Jones said, demand stayed high when Cornellians returned to campus this month, likely due to higher than usual awareness of this year’s flu, which the Centers for Disease Control said is the most intense since 2009.
The flu shot is now available and free at Cornell Health for students, staff and faculty. Appointments can be made online or by calling 607-255-5155.
More than 34 million could get the flu before the season is over, Dr. Daniel B. Jernigan, director of the CDC’s influenza division, said last week, The New York Times reported.
“It’s not too late to get a flu shot, which provides the best protection against the flu,” Bullis and Jones wrote.
The Cornell Health directors said they expect flu-like illnesses to increase and urged Cornellians and Ithacans to get vaccinated, noting that even if one gets the flu, having received the vaccine could decrease the severity and length of the illness.
At the same time, the directors said that they dispensed most of Cornell Health’s vaccines in the fall, meaning the community “is better prepared now than it ever has been for flu season.”
“Cornell Health puts a great deal of effort into vaccinating as many individuals as possible during the end of September and beginning of October, and at every opportunity after that, per CDC recommendations,” the letter reads.
“Following concerted efforts by our staff, we have been able to replenish our supply and will continue our efforts to keep a supply on hand as long as there is demand for vaccinations,” Bullis and Jones wrote.
The directors also encouraged Cornellians to “take extra care of ourselves and each other” by washing their hands, covering coughs and staying away from others when they get sick.
A Cornell Health spokesperson did not immediately respond to an email asking from where the medical center had acquired the additional vaccines.