TO: Members of Programs and Affiliates of the NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine and School of Health Professions
FROM: Barbara Ross-Lee, D.O., Vice President for Health Sciences and Medical Affairs
RE: Influenza: Seasonal and H1N1
I am writing to inform all members and clinical affiliates of the School of Health Professions (SHP) and the College of Osteopathic Medicine - students, clinical faculty, staff, affiliate education directors (DME, Nursing Directors, etc.), program directors, NYCOMEC member institutions, and NYCOMEC residents- of the precautions and preventive requirements for this flu season. Complete NYIT plans and preventive strategies my be found on the NYIT Web site. This message represents our institutional response based on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the New York States (NYS) requirements for students and health personnel. Complete text of the CDC recommendations may be found at www.cdc.gov/flu/protect.
Seasonal Influenza: College of Osteopathic Medicine students and students in the School of Health Professions who are in clinical rotations are included among personnel in health care settings that are required to receive annual vaccination against influenza by November 30 of each year, according to recent New York State Department of Health emergency regulation. Exceptions to this policy are individuals with medical contraindication to the vaccination or determination of an insufficient supply of vaccine by the State Commissioner of Health.
H1N1: When the H1N1 vaccine is released for distribution, the New York State regulation will also require immunization against H1N1. It is currently anticipated that the vaccine will be available mid-October, 2009. Further information will be provided as the NYS Department of Health releases updates.
Documentation of vaccination: Students who lack documentation of vaccination or documentation of medical contraindications to the vaccine will not be allowed to continue in clerkships or clinical rotations. Students may receive their vaccinations at the clinical affiliates at which they are assigned, or by their individual physician. The NYIT health insurance plan (United Health) covers the cost and administration of the vaccine. Governor Paterson is urging all insurers to provide the vaccination at no cost to their insured.
Preventive precautions: The following precautions are advised in order to reduce the spread of influenza:
Common symptoms of influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. The CDC recommends that people with flu-like illness stay home from work or school until 24 hours after they are free of fever or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications. These agencies estimate that, in most cases, a person with flu will be ill for two to four days. They note that most people will recover without medical care and recommend seeing a doctor only if the illness is severe or if you are at high risk for complications.
Required reporting: Any student in a clinical clerkship or on assignment at a clinical site who contracts the flu or flu-like illness is required to provide three notifications:
The new challenges presented by the H1N1 influenza virus will require flexibility on all of our parts. At this time we do not know the magnitude of the challenges that we face. We are monitoring the situation closely and will continue to provide information to you as we coordinate our efforts with the New York State Department of Health. Updates will be available as the flu season progresses. Thank you.