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School H1N1 Immunizations to Begin Monday, Nov. 30

Tuesday November 24, 2009

The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness will begin H1N1 immunizations in all Jefferson County public and parochial schools and in some private schools on Monday, November 30.

This is the most ambitious school immunization effort in Louisville since the Salk Polio Vaccine trial of the 1950s. Each student in Jefferson County Public Schools - the 90 public elementary schools, 24 middle schools and 21 high schools plus each student in the community’s 39 parochial elementary schools and eight parochial high schools - as well as students in numerous other private schools, will have the opportunity to get an H1N1 immunization..

Norton HealthCare is contributing to this monumental undertaking by providing 25 nurses and 10 support staff each day. “We are extremely grateful to Norton HealthCare and all of our community partners for their support in this campaign,” said Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson. “It is gratifying to see so many in our community stepping up to meet the challenge of H1N1.”

According to Steven T. Hester, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer, Norton Healthcare, providing nurses and support staff to assist with the students’ immunizations is a way for the organization to give back to the community. “As a not-for-profit health care provider, Norton Healthcare is committed to investing in the community we are so privileged to serve and I can think of no better investment than protecting the health and welfare of our area’s children,” he said. “In the face of such widespread H1N1 flu occurrence, it is Norton Healthcare’s responsibility as the area’s leading health care organization to take an active role in prevention and we are honored to help in this effort.”

Between November 30 and December 18, nurses and other staff will go to at least 10 schools each school day to give H1N1immunizaions to students and staff. The immunizations will be voluntary and free. Each student will need a consent form signed by a parent or guardian.

Health officials caution that if the allocation of vaccine supply unexpectedly slows during the school immunization campaign, there is a possibility that they may have to temporarily slow the H1N1 school immunization schedule until they get more vaccine.

“By indicating on the consent form that a child can get either the nasal mist or a shot, parents will give us the flexibility to ensure that there will be enough vaccine to immunize as many children as possible, said Public Health and Wellness Director Dr. Adewale Troutman. “The nasal mist and shot are equally effective,” added Troutman.

“We strongly encourage parents to have their children immunized against H1N1,” said Dr. Troutman. “School children are especially at risk from H1N1.” According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between 300 and 800 children age 17 and younger have died from H1N1 since April and between 23,000 and 57,000 have been hospitalized.

“There is still an unprecedented amount of H1N1 flu activity in our community,” said Dr. Troutman, “so children should be vaccinated.”

Attached is the full school immunization schedule. The schedule is subject to change.

Consent forms and vaccine information statements can be downloaded at www.louisvilleky.gov/health. Information can also be obtained by calling the H1N1 hotline at 568-H1N1 (4161).

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School H1N1 Immunization Schedule

Click here for a list of dates and schools we will be administering the vaccine.