Many consider H1N1 vaccine after UNC student's battle

Lillian Chason
December 5, 2009 12:35:37 AM PST
An UNC Chapel Hill student's battle with the swine flu is serving as a reminder to thousands of college students.Many who didn't want to get the H1N1 vaccine say they're considering one now that they've heard about Lillian Chason.

The freshman from Rhode Island is in critical condition at UNC Hospital after contracting H1N1 before Thanksgiving.

Even though she didn't appear to have any underlying medical conditions, Chason still became gravely ill. She is on life support as doctors treat her for the virus.

Emily O'Brien is a graduate student at UNC and says she didn't know Chason, but she's heard about her fight with the H1N1 virus.

"It sort of got me going a little bit, I guess you could say," O'Brien said. "It's just really scary and it's something that you don't think could happen to someone your age, so it's definitely made me more motivated to get vaccinated."

O'Brien is one of about 26 students who went to Craige Residence Hall Friday night, during the first hour of an H1N1 vaccination clinic.

Clinic staff was hoping to vaccinate up to 200 people, but they didn't think that was going to happen.

The university says it is hosting several vaccination clinics in the coming days.

Each vaccine costs $12 and there is enough to cover every student and faculty member at UNC.

UNC freshman Megan Hall and her friends say they'll probably take advantage of that, especially after hearing about Chason.

"I have a healthy immune system," Hall said. "I've always been healthy, but she was healthy too, so it could easily happen to me."

"She's our age and is as healthy as the average student here and for her to get that was pretty profound," UNC sophomore Colleen Davis said.

"Definitely, brought it much closer to home and brought the severity of the issue way up," UNC freshman Hannah Walters added.

The next vaccination clinic will take place on Monday at the Student Union during the day and at another residence hall that night.

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