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Student IDs used to track H1N1 vaccinations

With medical officials predicting that the H1N1 flu would hit hard as the flu and cold season came around last winter, college campuses struggled to prepare their students.

When the flu strain hit in the spring 2009 some campuses were forces to quarantine students. At the 35,000 student University of Alberta in Canada administrators were preparing to vaccinate students against H1N1 but wanted a way to make sure that only those in the at risk group received it first, says John Younk, associate director of ancillary operation at the university. The school also wanted to track who received the vaccination.

Younk had heard of a nearby university using Verify, a module of its campus card system from Heartland Payments Systems, to conduct such tasks and looked to implement it for vaccine tracking. Verify enables a campus card office to run an access control point off a laptop. The laptop can be preloaded with a list of eligible student, faculty or staff or it can connect to the database via a wireless network.

Students swipe their card through a reader attached to the laptop and are verified, Younk says. The laptop displays a picture of the student as well as any pertinent information for the attendant to review. The system will also let the attendant know if the student has already been processed. Alberta is using the mag stripe on the card but it could also be used with the HID Prox system that the university has in place.

The university vaccinated 3,700 students over the course of three days and the system was use to authenticate those receiving the medication, Younk says.

The university foresees using Verify in other applications too, such as a recent use to verify students purchase of public transportation passes, Younk says. “The sky is the limit. “This is our foray into portable services for anything that need to be done on campus,” he says.

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