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Vaccinations for K-5 completed

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By Laura Clark

By Tuesday afternoon, 786 children from kindergarten through fifth grade in Shelby County had received the H1N1 vaccination through their schools.

These school-wide vaccinations were provided by the North Central District Health Department and administered by local nurses and paramedics. Parents had to return a signed consent form last week to individual schools.

Simpsonville, Heritage and Wright elementary schools were Monday's stops, with Painted Stone and Clear Creek on Tuesday's agenda, according to Traci Earley, Shelby County Public School District Health Coordinator.

"The kids are doing great. They're such troopers," Earley said. "They're coming in with their sleeves rolled up and ready to not get any germs. That's what they're telling me."

The number of children signed up was a little less than 40 percent of the total number of children in the district falling in the target grades. Earley attributes this to the quick turnaround required for the consent forms as well as many parents having already had their children vaccinated.

Children age 9 and under will need to get a second shot through the health department or other health-care provider at least four weeks from this first shot.

"They're getting sent home with a vaccination record to show when the next shot's due," Earley said.

Distribution of the shots has gone well so far, she said, and the shots have worked in smoothly around class schedules and field trips.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, since Dec. 5, Kentucky still was experiencing widespread flu activity. Nationally, the number of new cases has been falling.

"We're not seeing any issues with our attendance more than what's normal for this time of year," Earley said.

The CDC said another wave of H1N1 cases could come in late winter, so children inoculated this week would be protected, pending their second shot.

SCPS plans to send consent forms home with secondary school students following Winter Break and offer school-wide vaccinations by the end of January. Middle and high school students will have at least a week to return their consent forms.

Earley said she did not know if the vaccination would be offered for preschool children in the future.