Swine flu clinics on hold for schools

Published 8:05 pm Wednesday, October 21, 2009


With local schools being hit with swine flu outbreaks early in the year, superintendents have plans for on campus clinics.

But, H1N1 flu vaccination clinics in schools across Pike County will not be available as soon as originally anticipated.

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“The health department has been very up front from the beginning that the dates are tentative and could change,” said Pike County Schools Superintendent Mark Bazzell.

“Right now things are about normal and have been for some time. We’ve had no excessive absences.”

Troy City Schools Superintendent Linda Felton gave a similar report.

“Overall we have leveled out in terms of our students being out with the flu and flu-like symptoms,” Felton said. “And that’s for all three of our schools.”

The vaccinations were first estimated to be available late this month but are now facing significant delays.

Lesa Smith, the public health surveillance nurse for Pike County, said it would be difficult to say exactly when the vaccinations will be made available.

“I can’t give a clear timeline. The information I get changes,” Smith said. “The earliest the clinics will be operating will probably be several weeks though. I would estimate at least seven weeks minimum.”

Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explained in Friday’s H1N1 flu media briefing, that the delays were not unusual.

“The delays that the (vaccine) manufacturers have will have a substantial impact for the states in their planning efforts. You may be seeing some rescheduling of some clinics and we’re just all going to have to bear with situation,” Schuchat said.

Schuchat further explained that vaccination production is very complex and forecasting it with any precision is difficult.