Sullivan to vaccinate students against H1N1

Rick Wagner • Nov 11, 2009 at 12:00 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — About 2,000 Sullivan County elementary and middle school students are to receive H1N1 nasal mist or injectable H1N1 vaccine next week, health officials said Wednesday.

“We are going to do all middle and elementaries first,” said Alisa Hearl, health supervisor for the county school system. “We’re going to accommodate high schools as soon as we are sure we have the supply.”

Gary Mayes, director of the Sullivan County Regional Health Department, said the county school system has already distributed and collected permission slips from parents and guardians and received about 2,000 back at the elementary and middle school level and another 400 back at the high school level.

The system has about 11,800 students.

Hearl said parents still could return permission slips but urged them to do so as soon as possible so the health department can be prepared with enough doses of shots and mist at each school.

The mist and shots will be given during school hours.

On Monday, the shots and mist will be offered at Weaver, Emmett and Valley Pike elementary schools and Holston Valley Middle School.

On Tuesday, the program moves to Holston Middle and Elementary schools, Blountville Middle and Elementary schools, Akard Elementary and Central Heights Elementary.

On Wednesday, vaccinations will be given at Ketron Intermediate School as well as Kingsley, Bloomingdale and Cedar Grove elementary schools.

The Thursday schools are Mary Hughes School, a K-8 facility, Bluff City Middle and Elementary schools, and Indian Springs Elementary.

And Friday, the shots and mist will be given at Colonial Heights Middle School, Miller Perry and Rock Springs elementary schools, and Sullivan Elementary and Middle schools.

The mist or shots also will be offered to faculty, administration and staff per Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

According to the CDC Web site, those in the target group for H1N1 vaccine include pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than six months old, health care and emergency medical services personnel, those between the ages of 6 months and 24, and people 25 through 64 who are at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.

“We just wanted to get our younger ones first,” Hearl said.

Nasal mist will be given to those for whom it is appropriate, while those with respiratory illness will receive the injectable vaccine.

Per CDC guidelines, those with allergies to eggs are not to take the mist or shot, Mayes said.

Amy Greear, spokeswoman for the Kingsport school system, said H1N1 vaccinations are expected to be given at city schools in late November.

Mayes said the city systems have not yet collected the bulk of permission slips, and the H1N1 inoculations will occur in Bristol, Tenn., and Kingsport schools when those are processed and the shots and mist are available.

Initially, all three systems tentatively were slated to have the shots or mist in late November.

“As soon as we have that (permission slips) for the city and are ready to begin and have adequate supply, we will do the city schools,” Mayes said.

For more information go to the Sullivan County Schools Web site at www.scde.k12.tn.us, SCRHD site at www.sullivanhealth.org, CDC site at www.cdc.gov, the Kingsport school system Web site at http://kingsport.schoolfusion.us and the Bristol, Tenn., school system Web site at www.btcs.org.

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