The Liberty County Health Department has partnered with the department of preventive medicine at Fort Stewart to set up H1N1 vaccination clinics in local schools next month.
“This is the first time the military and civilian health departments have partnered to conduct these clinics,” health department administrator Deidre Howell said. “I am really excited about this.”
Howell said parents can expect their students to bring home packets explaining the clinics sometime this week. “We will be going to each school to provide H1N1 vaccines during school hours. The exact dates haven’t been set, but the tentative times are between Feb. 1 and Feb. 12. We’ll try to get it all done in those two weeks.”
The packets going home with students contain information about H1N1 and the vaccine, as well as consent forms for parents to sign. Howell said once dates for each school have been set, another flyer will go home to parents and they should send the consent forms back with the students on the day of the vaccination clinic. The vaccines are free. The packets request insurance information if parents have it but such information is not required to administer the vaccine.
Howell said most children will be eligible to receive the vaccine in mist form, unless they have asthma or another active respiratory ailment.
Children younger than 10 should also receive a follow-up vaccination four weeks after the initial one; the second vaccinations won’t be given at schools but parents can go into the health department for them, she said.
Children with allergies to latex or eggs should not be vaccinated, but Howell encourages family members to be vaccinated to prevent bringing the virus into the home.
The Centers for Disease Control is estimating another wave of H1N1 flu will arrive this spring, Howell said. The seasonal flu is also expected to make a spring appearance, Howell said fall cases were lower than anticipated, likely because more people than usual were vaccinated last year.
The health department also encourages people to get the seasonal flu vaccine if they haven’t yet, Howell said. Both types of flu have the potential to reappear this spring. The health department has a limited number of seasonal flu shots available for $25.
For more information on seasonal flu or H1N1 vaccinations, call Howell at 912-876-2173, ext. 206.