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
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.