Jason Browne & Kristin Mamrack
October 31, 2009 10:01:00 PM
Local students and high-risk residents soon will have opportunities to get vaccinated against the H1N1 swine flu.
Mississippi State Department of Health officials Friday announced a limited number of doses of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine will be available at all county health departments Monday.
And Monday, MSDH officials also will begin mass vaccinations for all students at various schools throughout the state.
The Columbus Municipal School District, in connection with the MSDH and Mississippi University for Women''s School of Nursing, will offer vaccination shots free to students at Columbus High, Lee Middle, Hunt Intermediate and Franklin Medical Sciences and Wellness Magnet schools, Wednesday.
The remaining city schools will receive the vaccine in coming weeks, depending on the availability of medical personnel.
"Mississippi Department of Education wanted the school system to help," said CMSD Superintendent Dr. Del Phillips. "We''re participating by providing a place and organizing it. The work will be done by outside medical personnel."
Students will receive a permission slip, which must be completed fully and returned, before the vaccine is distributed.
Participation in the vaccination is voluntary; Phillips encouraged parents to accompany their children receiving the vaccine.
"We want to give parents the opportunity to be there when it happens," he said.
Students aged 9 or younger will require a follow-up booster shot, within a month of the initial vaccination; the booster shots also will be administered at schools by medical professionals.
Lowndes County students also will receive the vaccine, although a formal schedule of vaccinations is not yet available.
"The Lowndes County School District will participate on strictly a voluntary basis and ask parents to consult with their personal physician if they have questions about their child participating," said LCSD Superintendent Mike Halford.
Oktibehha County School District Superintendent James Covington said his district Monday will present a proposal to vaccinate students to the OCSD school board.
And an MSDH representative Tuesday will meet with the Starkville School District school board to discuss administering the H1N1 vaccine at schools.
Additionally, the West Point School District school board is expected next week to discuss vaccinating students.
County health department vaccinations
MSDH officials said 223, 800 doses of the H1N1 vaccine have been administered to Mississippians, including 146,000 doses of injectable vaccine and 77,800 doses of nasal mist vaccine.
The first injectable vaccine doses at county clinics will be available for pregnant women, children aged 6 months through 4 years, and parents, siblings, caregivers and anyone occupying a house with an infant younger than 6 months old.
The vaccine is free for these high-priority groups at county health departments.
"Mississippians have proven to be very gracious in times of limited vaccine availability," said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Mary Currier. "We ask everyone to remain patient as those with the highest risk of complications receive their vaccinations first. We''re receiving additional doses each week, and we expect the vaccine will be available for everyone, once the priority groups have been vaccinated.
"Just like the rest of the country, Mississippi is receiving limited shipments of the vaccine based on the population of our state," added Currier. "Decisions are being made after each shipment arrives about how to reach those who are at the highest risk for complications and need the vaccine first."
Currier recommended residents not in a high-priority group get a seasonal flu shot and continue using basic prevention methods, like hand-washing, avoiding close contact with others who are sick and staying home, if ill.
Anne Sheahan commented at 11/1/2009 11:06:00 AM:
What about people with Auto-Immune Diseases. I live in Amory in Monroe County and have been trying to get this vaccine since I got my regular flu shot. I have an auto-immune disease and am considered at risk during flu season by both my Rheumatologist and PCP. Where do I go and when?
MB commented at 11/2/2009 11:23:00 AM:
There is no way I would put this vaccine in my body! The government and the company that is selling the vaccine will not put the country of origin on the package or even say where it is manufactured. I am guessing that means it is made in China! Looking at China's history of issues with production, I think I will pass on this vaccine. I think I will pass on something that the government thinks is good for me! This is a lab created virus and there is no way you can convince me it is a good idea to take the vaccine!
Matt commented at 11/2/2009 12:16:00 PM:
Just received the vaccine and it took me and my gf about 5 minutes to get the shot but took another 3 hours waiting for our son to get his. The people seem a little slow in the health department and you have to wait behind everyone that is there for every other purpose. If you are an adult you should have no trouble but if you are trying to get your child the shot be prepared to wait and wait some more.
JC commented at 11/2/2009 3:11:00 PM:
I think I will pass on something that the government thinks is good for me!
Great idea, MB. I hope other vaccine paranoiacs follow your lead. This could be a great step forward for humankind.
KG commented at 11/2/2009 3:44:00 PM:
Adult flu shots are the only ones that have mercury (Hg) levels in them; I do not know about H1N1 shots. I do know that there was a breakout of H1N1 around 1976...seems like this hype about H1N1 is marketed as new, when that's certainly not in fact the case.
hk commented at 11/3/2009 11:17:00 AM:
KG--the 1976 breakout was found in one person I believe.. this outbreak has killed several children--more than the normal flu.. I feel it is to be taken seriously.. the new H1N1 does have a live virus.. therefore I know many are not taking it.. I will not be taking it.
Matt commented at 11/3/2009 1:28:00 PM:
The mist has a live virus not the shot.
errr commented at 11/4/2009 3:10:00 PM:
The Lowndes County Health Dept was giving it out to more than just "high risk." I'm pregnant, waited 2.5 hours and finally had to leave. Felt like sitting in a 10 x 10 waiting room with sick people for that long was riskier than not having the shot! Called Monroe county. They are truly only giving H1N1 to high risk people.
errr commented at 11/4/2009 3:15:00 PM:
If the feds take-over health care, this kind of chaos we have to look forward to.
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