MIT Medical has administered almost 2,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine during two clinics this month — and more are in the works.
Many MIT Medical staff worked on the Veterans Day holiday at a
pediatric vaccination clinic in the Building E25 atrium. A total of 847
MIT Medical patients age six months to 17 years got an H1N1 shot. Staff
were prepared for an onslaught of anxious parents and their children,
but the six-hour session went off without a hitch.
“People were shocked that there was no wait,” said Pediatrics
administrative coordinator Phyllis Winn. “There were times we were
sitting waiting for people.”
A few parents even emailed MIT Medical in gratitude. “I was blown
away by how well-organized the clinic was, and how quickly the line
moved,” wrote Amy Banzaert, a graduate student in mechanical
engineering and mother of a two-year-old son. “It was great to get
access to this vaccine when it’s been in such short supply until now.”
“As a parent, I’m greatly relieved to have had my kids receive the
H1N1 vaccine so they can be spared the misery of any illness,” wrote
Patti Landry, an optometrist at MIT Medical who was not involved in
planning or running the flu clinic. “Clearly, you all had everything so
well organized at the flu clinic. Thanks to everyone involved and
especially to those who gave up a day off to help the community.”
At a Nov. 17 student clinic at MacGregor House, 1,058 students
got H1N1 vaccinations. Ten stations were set up to vaccinate any
undergraduate who stopped in, but by early afternoon, there was a light
enough patient load that two MIT Medical staff members went to the
Stratton Student Center to drum up more business.
“It really made a difference when we went over there with our signs
and asked students if they wanted a shot,” Winn said. “When we got back
to MacGregor, there was more of a line.” Eventually the clinic was
opened to graduate students late in the day (since the extra doses of
vaccine had a limited shelf life).
Key organizers for MIT Medical were senior operations manager
Deborah Friscino and director of nursing and student health Kris
Ruzycki, A.N.P.-B.C. MIT’s Emergency Operations Center recruited help
from areas including Facilities, the Housing Office, the Environmental
Health and Safety Office, and Mail Services to register students,
direct patient traffic and hand out information. All together the
operation involved about 40 people, including 12 clinicians and five
administrative staff from MIT Medical, plus several nursing students
and their instructor from Massachusetts General Hospital.
The two events were the first of several clinics that are intended
to reach everyone in the MIT community who wants to be vaccinated
against H1N1. Because the arrival times and quantities of vaccine
shipments are very unpredictable, MIT Medical has had to plan clinics
with just a few days’ notice. Vaccine, which is paid for by the federal
government, has been arriving at the rate of about 500 to 1,000 doses a
week, according to associate medical director David Diamond, M.D.
MIT Medical is required to vaccinate patients in order of priority
group following a protocol set by the federal Centers for Disease
Control, so staff are taking appointments for some patients and asking
others to keep checking back as more vaccine arrives. The MIT Flu
Central web site at http://web.mit.edu/fluinfo is updated frequently with information on vaccine distribution.
The next H1N1 clinic will be by appointment only on Wednesday, Dec. 2, for MIT patients older than 6 months and under 17 years of age, and MIT students under age 24. For pediatrics patients under age 10 who need a second
dose of vaccine, there will be an appointment-only clinic on Dec.
15. Call 617-253-4865 for appointments.
MIT Medical has also administered about 6,000 seasonal flu
vaccinations since October. The department had hoped to receive a total
of 8,900 doses, but after early supplies were exhausted, manufacturers
switched priorities to making H1N1 vaccine. It’s unclear how much more
seasonal flu vaccine will be delivered, but patients of MIT Medical may
put their names on a waiting list by calling 617-253-4865.
MIT Medical has seen about 480 patients with influenza-like illness
in the past 10 weeks, Diamond said. While clinicians assume the vast
majority of those cases are due to H1N1 infection, they have not been
testing most patients since the actual diagnosis doesn’t affect how the
illness is treated.