Schools to offer H1N1 vaccines before winter break

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By Laura Clark

The long-awaited opportunity for Shelby County Public Schools students to be vaccinated against the H1N1 virus finally is becoming a reality.

Consent forms are due today from parents who would like their children to receive those vaccinations. An informational packet and form were sent home Monday with students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

The North Central District Health Department will be administering the clinic before winter break.

It was not logistically feasible to hold a clinic for middle and high school students before the break, said Traci Earley, district health coordinator for Shelby County Public Schools. They plan to make vaccinations available to older students in January.

Earley predicts a 40 percent return of consent forms, based on such clinics in other counties around Kentucky.

"We're expecting probably the same," she said. "Some people have already gotten it [the vaccine]. Some parents may not want to vaccinate their child."

The vaccinations will be free of charge. A One Call phone message will go out to inform parents of the date and time for their child's clinic. Children 9 and under will have to be given a second shot 28 days following the first dose.

"At least they'll have this first round taken care of," Earley said, adding that children will have to go to the health department for the second shot.

Health-care officials hope this clinic can protect children from the next wave of H1N1 outbreak, which the Centers for Disease Control predicts could hit through late winter.

"We're very excited as a school district," Earley said. "We've been wanting to do this for several months."