Flu shot apathy among international students worries nurse

The nurse manager at the Saint Mary's University Student Health Centre in Halifax says she's concerned a number of international students aren't getting a flu vaccine.

H1N1 spreads in tight spaces, such as classrooms

The province's virology lab is where each specimen of influenza is sent to determine whether it's the H1N1 strain or not. The people who work here say university students who opt out of the shot ought to think twice. (CBC)

The nurse manager at the Saint Mary's University Student Health Centre in Halifax says she's concerned a number of international students aren't getting a flu vaccine.

Close to a third of the student population at the Halifax university come from other countries.

There are about 12 doses of the vaccine in the fridge at the student health centre and more is on its way, but unlike the local pharmacies, demand isn't strong.

"I don't think the international students want to get a flu shot. A lot of students from China, for instance, will bring their own medicines with them, their herbal medicines and things, and they prefer to treat themselves that way," said Jane Collins.

Health officials say H1N1 appears to favour the young over the old.

"Influenza is transmitted by respiratory droplets so if someone actually has flu and you're in a closed area, like a classroom, you're probably at higher risk of getting an infection," said Dr. Todd Hatchette.

Most pharmacies in Halifax have run out of the flu vaccine. They're expecting the Capital District Health Authority to send more by Thursday or Friday.

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