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 Schools Partner With County Health to Fight Spread Of H1N1 Virus Among Local Students and School Staffs

​School districts throughout San Diego County are formalizing plans and agreements to help health officials provide H1N1 vaccinations to school children and school staffs.

In a news conference outside the county’s Health and Human Services Agency in San Diego, County Superintendent of Schools Randy Ward said, “Because of the high number of children who are susceptible to the H1N1 influenza, the County Office of Education and our local school districts are supporting the county’s Public Health Services agency in its efforts to provide accessible vaccination clinics for school-age children.”

Ward said 29 local school districts were working on agreements with county public health officials to operate school-based vaccination clinics. In addition to those agreements, school district officials are ironing out many other details to make the school-based vaccination clinics possible, Ward said.

“It’s not as simple as opening up the door and yelling, ‘Y’all come on down,’” Ward said. He cited staffing issues for the proposed clinics, which vary from school district to school district, acquiring parent permission for children to be vaccinated, and funding for the work in the wake of severe school district budget cuts.

Students are among the 1.7 million San Diego County residents who comprise the top-priority recipients for the H1N1 vaccine, said San Diego County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten. County Supervisor Dianne Jacob said the region will eventually receive enough doses of the vaccine for all of those residents to receive a dose.

Several models will be used for school-based vaccination clinics, Ward said. In some cases students will be vaccinated during the school day; in other cases students and family members (the latter who meet priority group criteria) will be vaccinated after school hours; and in other cases county public health personnel will administer the vaccinations.

Ward said families of students will be notified by their schools if and when the vaccination clinics will operate. The school clinics will be for designated students and staff members only, and not for the general public. Ward urged parents not to phone schools or school district offices about the clinics. Such phone calls could quickly inundate school staffs, he said.

Wooten called the October 30 news conference to announce the arrival of an unexpected supply of 78,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine. About 10,000 of those doses went directly to the county’s Public Health Centers, and the remaining doses would be distributed to primary care providers, ambulatory and community clinics, and school districts, she said.