High-Risk Students Vaccintaed for Swine Flu for the First Time in Lansing School District

By: Jennifer Dowling Email
By: Jennifer Dowling Email

It was through clenched teeth that Sexton High School Junior Christopher Smith got his swine flu shot. Smith says, "You know I just don't like shots period." Even though the young man grimaced as the shot went into his arm, he braved the clinic for a good reason. Smith has asthma. Getting sick would be tough on him and possibly life-threatening. Smith says, "I've got asthma. For instance, if I really have a really serious cold, fever and things, so if I get H1N1 with that took it's going to be bad and I need this."

The school clinic is only offering vaccines for students with underlying medical conditions. The Ingham County Health Department has had to turn many people away from its public clinics because they are not at risk. Barbara Braman is the site manager for the clinics. She says, "People are scared. They want that shot because they want to make sure they're not going to get the flu, but if you're a healthy normal adult, there's no reason why you should get it, give it to the person who really needs it right now."

Braman works for the Ingham County Health Department. She says, "The flu shot is in demand. It's being asked for by a lot of people. Everybody wants the flu shot, but not everybody can get the flu shot. There is a limited supply of them."

Twenty-four high risk students signed up for the vaccination clinic at Sexton High School on Monday, along with a number of staff members. The Ingham County Health Department hopes to have the vaccination available for the rest of the student population soon. Barbara Braman says, "It's just a waiting game. I hope it's here by the end of the month but I can't guarantee that and that's what we're hoping for."

Meanwhile, Sexton High School Senior David Rojas has asthma and was grateful for the free shot from the county. Many of his fellow students have already been out sick this year, leaving classrooms nearly empty. Rojas says, "In one class I came into, we only had 7 people in one class for like a week straight. So, if you miss that much school too, that's another reason I got the shot."

He says there are some students that don't care about getting the swine flu vaccine. He estimates the students are split 50/50 on whether or not they want to get the vaccine.

Clinics also took place at Gardner Middle School and Everett High School on Monday. Braman says, "They are going well, they are moving right along and we'll continue to have the clinics until probably the end of November."

The Ingham County Health Department will hold H1N1 vaccination clinics ONLY for those Lansing High School and Middle School students who have underlying medical conditions that place them at higher risk for flu-related complications on the following dates during regular school hours:
November 5, Hill Career Academy
November 10, Patengill Middle School
November 12 Eastern High School, Dwight Rich Middle School and Otto Middle School

The Ingham County Health Department will hold Mass Public Vaccination Clinics for those who live in Ingham County on:

November 5th 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm Hill Career Academy, Lansing
November 7th 9:00 am to 3:00 pm Hill Career Academy, Lansing
November 10th 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm Pattengill Middle School, Lansing
November 14th 9:00 am to 3:00 pm Holt High School
November 17th 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm Mason High School
November 19th 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm East Lansing High School
November 23th 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm Leslie High School
November 30th 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm Williamston High School

People who can get shots at the clinics at this time include;
pregnant women
household members who live with infants under 6 months old
children aged 6 months through 4 years-old
children, adolescents and adults who have a medical condition that places them at higher risk for flu-related complications between the ages of 5 through 64 years old.

Those individuals must bring documentation to verify their medical condition. Some examples are; a doctors note or prescription for the 2009 H1N1 vaccine, empty pill bottle or inhaler that identifies the patient or a medical bill or an old prescription.

The cost is free to the public at these clinics. Visit the Ingham County Health Department's website at http://hd.ingham.org/influenza-a(h1n1).aspx to download the consent form and vaccine information sheets. For more information, dial 211.

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