Schools to dispense free swine flu vaccine

Posted 10/30/09

The H1N1 vaccine is slowly arriving in Colorado, and Littleton Public Schools is taking the first steps in planning on-site vaccination clinics as …

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Schools to dispense free swine flu vaccine


The H1N1 vaccine is slowly arriving in Colorado, and Littleton Public Schools is taking the first steps in planning on-site vaccination clinics as they continue to see more absences due to flu-like symptoms.

Tri-County Health Department is working with the district to tighten up policies to stop the spread of the pandemic flu, predicted to spread with greater frequency this fall.

“The vaccine is coming as quick as it can happen,” said Dr. Richard Vogt, executive director of the health department.

H1N1 is affecting such a large age range, that “half of the country” is categorized in the at-risk group, he said. Orders for the vaccine are climbing as the government tries to get it out to the most impacted areas.

Parents and guardians will have an opportunity to bring their children to the free clinic at Goddard Middle School, starting Nov. 16.

Additional clinics will take place at Euclid Middle School Nov. 17 and 19 from 4 to 8 p.m., and again in December.

Until then, the department is advising people to distance themselves from those who are sick and to wash their hands frequently to prevent the spread of the virus.

The health department’s plan is to work with health care partners to vaccinate those most in need, including children and young adults, pregnant women, caregivers of small children and emergency responders who have medical duties.

Severe cases have been common among those 25 and younger, but more people between the ages of 25 and 64 are becoming seriously ill, Vogt said.

Littleton Public Schools will monitor their daily absence rates and report to the Tri-County Health Department.

However, the department will no longer be making a notification about reported cases of students and staff with H1N1 because it is “no longer necessary,” according to Lucinda Hundley, assistant superintendent of student support services for LPS.

In general, schools will not be closed unless they cannot operate because of a shortage of staff due to illness.

The department will inform the community if school closure is being considered.

Littleton Adventist Hospital is taking precautions to ward off an outbreak of the virus.

Signs inside and out of the hospital read: “We ask that anyone under the age of 18, or anyone with a fever, cough, runny nose or sore throat, refrain from visiting the hospital — unless they are seeking medical care.”

The restriction is a state-wide initiative recommended by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Virtually every hospital is implementing the restriction.

Unlike the seasonal flu, which tends to attack vulnerable populations such as the very young, the very old and the infirm, the swine flu virus shows up at a relatively higher rate in healthy young people and those in the prime of life — through age 49, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Our emergency department continues to see cases of H1N1 and will continue to do so in the months to come, just as we do during the annual flu season,” hospital officials said.

“A few patients are sick enough that they require admission to the hospital for medical management, while most others are well enough that they do not require hospitalization and can be managed at home.”

The hospital is advising anyone who does develop flu-like symptoms to call a primary care physician.

This is particularly important for people with underlying medical issues such as asthma, and chemotherapy patients.

First-Round of Clinics

Nov.16, 4-8 p.m. -Goddard Middle School

Nov. 17, 4-8 p.m. – Euclid Middle School

Nov. 19, 4-8 p.m. – Newton Middle School


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