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October 28, 2009

Dear University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus students, faculty, and staff,

Update on H1N1 cases
H1N1 cases at the University, in the metropolitan area, and in greater Minnesota are increasing.

  • Cases may increase for several more weeks.
  • Like most clinics in Minnesota, an increase in cases of influenza like illness (ILI) has been reported at Boynton Health Service (BHS) over the past week.
  • The good news is that BHS is still fully able to handle clinic visits, and no serious complications from H1N1 have been reported to BHS to date.

H1N1 vaccine availability
Federal officials acknowledge that production of H1N1 vaccine has been delayed and only a small number of doses are currently available.

When H1N1 vaccine supplies will be available for the general public depends on how quickly manufacturers are able to produce it. Public health officials expect that eventually there will be enough vaccine in the state for anyone who wants to be vaccinated.

For now, the Minnesota Department of Health recommends giving vaccine to priority groups:

  • pregnant women
  • people who live with or provide care for infants aged six months or younger
  • health care and emergency medical services personnel who have direct contact with patients or infectious material
  • children ages six months through four years
  • children and adolescents ages 5-18 years who have medical
  • conditions that put them at higher risk

The University has received one shipment of the live, attenuated virus vaccine called FluMist. This nasal vaccine spray is only approved for non-pregnant, healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49.

People within priority groups at the University--emergency medical system personnel, healthcare providers, and those who care for infants less than six months of age--who are approved to receive FluMist will be given the current supply of this vaccine first.

More about who is eligible to get the current supply of FluMist can be found here.

Next steps
We are committed to keeping our students, staff, and faculty as safe as possible during this unusual flu season.

  • When additional H1N1 vaccine becomes available, we will notify you.
  • Continue to practice public health safety measures, like staying home when ill, covering your cough, and keeping your hands clean.
  • If you develop serious symptoms see your health care provider or call 911.
  • This is a time that is causing stress and anxiety for some. Students can find information about mental health resources on campus here. Faculty and staff should contact their healthcare provider or, if the issue is work-related, the U's Employee Assistance Program.


Kathleen O'Brien, Vice President for University Services and Officer of the Day

John Finnegan, Assistant Vice President for Public Health and Dean, School of Public Health

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University of Minnesota Pandemic Influenza Response Plan (332 K pdf)