As H1N1 looms, vaccinations urged

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Swine flu is not just at our doorstep, it’s well inside it.

That’s the message Dean of Students Ellen Cosgrove conveyed in a recent email to the student body. She confirmed that there had already been a number of cases of the flu, technically referred to as H1N1, on the Harvard Law School campus. Last spring, terror swept Harvard as the malady spread from Mexico to New York to the university’s dental school, in Boston. It was only a matter of time before the law school was beset with cases.

Few parts of the world have failed to be affected by the disease, and officials across the United States have been scrambling to prepare for the fall flu season, when the epidemic is expected to spread wildly – especially among school-aged children and young adults up to age 24. HLS is taking full precautions.

Seasonal flu clinics will begin September 8, and satellite administrations of the flu vaccine will take place at the law school on September 16th and 29th, as well as on October 7th and 21st. Harvard University Health Services plans to begin inoculations against swine flu as soon as a vaccine is available, which it has indicated will be “late in the fall”. In the meantime, the school has stepped up prevention efforts, adding hand sanitizers in heavily trafficked locations across campus.

Dean Cosgrove also implored students not to “power through and go to class” when carrying the disease, a sure way to speed its spread. The Dean of Students office, she noted, would help students get notes for their classes, and ask faculty to give them time to catch up before calling on them. Friends could also tape class sessions for sick students using portable video recorders available from video services. Finally, she asked that sick students wear masks that can be provided by University Health Services when walking around campus, and that they remain isolated to the greatest degree possible.

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