In light of the recent mumps outbreak, hundreds of students and faculty braved the intermittent rain Thursday to wait for an hour in a line that stretched around the Tang Center for a vaccine that immunizes against mumps, measles and rubella.
With 20 confirmed and suspected cases of mumps, the Tang Center is offering mumps vaccinations to students, faculty and staff free of charge. The first clinic is Thursday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
At least 1,000 students, faculty and staff will be vaccinated by the end of the clinic, according to estimates by Brad Buchman, the medical director of University Health Services at the Tang Center. In the past, the center usually only distributes about 200 vaccines in a given day.
“Even when we had our H1N1 vaccinations, the clinics were well-attended, but nothing like this, so having something that lasts this long is more than we expected and we are thrilled,” said Kim LaPean, communications manager for University Health Services.
The California Department of Public Health has partnered with the Tang Center in distributing and supplying the vaccines. The department sent volunteers to patrol the long line of students, in an effort to provide more knowledge about the mumps vaccine.
Generally only high risk patients — those who have not received the first of the two vaccinations — only qualify for the vaccination, but the department decided that all students should be able to receive a third vaccination to further prevent infection. The decision was based on the recent 2010 mumps outbreak in New York, where over 1,500 people were infected, including many who had been previously vaccinated, according to Buchman.
The department gave the Tang Center 1,000 vaccines for Thursday and is willing to provide 1,000 doses of the vaccine at a time as needed, according to Buchman. The Tang Center has already scheduled future clinics on Oct. 14, Oct. 28, Nov. 8, Nov. 16 and Nov. 21 to administer the vaccines.
“The state department is worried about it enough to make it free,” Buchman said.
Some students were willing to wait in line for hours for the vaccine to avoid the risk of possible infection of the virus.
“After you get vaccinated, a rush of euphoria comes over you,” said Dana Depietro, a UC Berkeley senior. “I won’t be infected.”