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H1N1 flu shots set for schools soon

Parents should expect to receive H1N1 flu shot permission slips for their older school children sometime this week, Covington County Health Service Administrator Ziba Anderson said Monday.

“This school-based clinic will be for students 10 and older, up through the 12th grade,” he said. “Right now, we’re still waiting to finalize the dates, but it looks like we’re going to have the clinics sometime around Jan. 14 or 15.”

Older children will receive a flu shot, rather than the nasal mist vaccine administered to younger children in December. Children who received a nasal mist vaccine in December will also need to attend a second school-based clinic this month or in February.

Anderson said no date has been set yet for these follow-up clinics. Children ages 10 and older will not need to receive a follow-up shot.

Anderson also said there has been “little response” since the state began offering the H1N1 flu shot to the general public on Mon., Dec. 21. Previously, the vaccine had been limited to high-risk “priority” groups.

“Anyone that comes in can get the shot; we’ve got plenty of it,” Anderson said.

There is no charge for receiving the H1N1 flu vaccination at the Covington County Health Department. The CCHD is located on State Route 55 and open Mondays through Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 334-222-1175.

State health officials are cautiously optimistic the worst of the H1N1 flu epidemic is over, citing figures that showed there were only nine H1N1-related deaths in November and December combined, compared to 25 deaths in September and October combined. However, they caution citizens to still get the vaccinations, if possible.