H1N1 clinic a plus for U of M campus says University public affairs

The University of Manitoba is one of the 12 locations set up in Winnipeg to distribute the H1N1 Vaccine. Located temporarily at Helen Glass and in University Centre, the U of M is the main vaccine clinic for the Fort Garry area.

The amount of labor needed to run the clinics across the city is extensive, as there are currently 1,000 nursing shifts a week plus additional volunteers working at the 12 clinics across the city.

According to Heidi Graham, the director of media relations at the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WHRA), the U of M, like the other spaces used for vaccinations, was chosen for its easy access and size.

“All of the clinic locations were chosen because of their accessibility, because of the size of the rooms and their availability,” said Graham.

When asked if adding more people to an already dense population could facilitate the spread of the illness, Graham explained that the people going to the clinics would be in contact with the public anyway.

“People who are out and healthy are out in the public everyday, [ . . . ] going to a clinic is not any different. [ . . . ] The important thing to prevent the spread of disease is to get people vaccinated and the best way to do that is at mass immunization clinics.”

The total number of vaccinations distributed between the start dates of Oct. 26-30 was 54,649, not including two occupational clinics which Graham said would bring up the numbers slightly.

John Danakas, director of public affairs at the U of M, told the Manitoban that having the clinics on campus would be a positive thing for both students and staff at U of M.

“One of the benefits for students and staff of having the clinic on campus is that they now have easy access to a clinic, should they want to get the vaccine,” said Danakas.

“The WHRA made the decision on where they wanted to locate these clinics, and one of the benefits we felt in terms of the WHRA using the University of Manitoba would be that the presence of the clinic here would make it very convenient for our staff and students when the time came for them to have the flu shot,” he continued.

Danakas indicated that having the clinic at the U of M would be a good idea as areas with highly concentrated population therefore have a better chance of getting vaccinated.

“We have 27,000 students here. We’ve got almost 5,000 faculty and staff. [ . . . ] That’s a large population in and of itself, so, for those people and our community, by being a location of an H1N1 clinic we’ve just made it very convenient.”

The U of M has provided parking spaces and has been posting signs for the H1N1 clinic, but when it comes to cost and security the WRHA is the operating body responsible.

“It’s important to know that when the U of M is in full session it holds one of the largest populations in the province aside from the city of Winnipeg itself, so part of it is about servicing the University of Manitoba campus. But its important to know that [the university plays] an important role in the community of Winnipeg,” said the University of Manitoba Students’ Union president, Sid Rashid.

“[It’s about] providing the folks on campus with the opportunity to get the vaccine, but we play a important role in the community as well and if they couldn’t find another spot I don’t know see why they wouldn’t put it [on the U of M campus].”

All clinics will be closed from Nov. 3-6, said the WHRA, as the number of vaccines delivered to Manitoba was 15,500 instead of the expected 72,000,