The Houston County school system, in cooperation with the Houston County Health Department, will offer a free H1N1 vaccine at 13 school campuses beginning Monday and running through Dec. 17.
Parents are allowed to be present for the vaccination, but only the students will be able to obtain the vaccine during the school day. Two sites will offer the vaccine after school from 4 to 7 p.m. for all Houston County residents, targeted toward elementary schoolchildren.
Any child with a severe allergy to eggs is ineligible for any flu vaccine. Children with medical conditions — such as asthma, seizures or diabetes — are eligible for the H1N1 shot but not the mist.
In Houston County, 6,070 parents responded to a survey about interest in their children receiving H1N1 vaccines through the schools, said Beth McLaughlin, director of community and school affairs. Of that number, more than 3,400 parents indicated they would be interested in having the vaccinations available for themselves.
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Students in Houston County began receiving permission slips Thursday, and school principals will call parents of the elementary schools receiving the vaccines several days before they become available, McLaughlin said. No student will be able to receive a vaccine without a permission slip.
The H1N1 clinics are supported by the Houston County Hot Shots Coalition, a partnership of the Houston County Board of Education, Houston County Health Department, Robins Air Force Base and private providers in Warner Robins and Perry. This effort also is supported by the Central Georgia Medical Reserve Corps, which consists of health-care volunteers from Middle Georgia.
Bibb County schools planning vaccinations
Vaccines will be available to Bibb County students through the Macon-Bibb County Health Department and North Central Health District. While Bibb County schools have not determined an H1N1 vaccination schedule yet, permission slips were sent home with Bibb County students before Thanksgiving break and were due back to school officials by Monday so they could begin preparing to offer them to students, said Jennifer Jones, public information officer for the North Central Health District.
In all grades for Bibb County, parents have submitted 2,304 consent forms for the nasal spray and 1,956 forms for the flu shot, the highest concentration of those coming at the elementary school level.
The system has determined the order of the schools receiving vaccines through a lottery, and parents will be notified once the vaccines become available. The final schedule will be decided by the North Central Health District. Children 9 years old or younger will need two doses of vaccine spaced at least 28 days apart, and children 10 years of age and older will only need one dose.
Because of this, the Macon-Bibb County Health Department will hold a second round of vaccinations for some elementary school students, according to information from Bibb County Schools.
Health director David Harvey hopes as many students as possible will be able to receive the vaccine before Christmas break, Jones said.