The Kenai Public Health Center has received enough doses of the Novel H1N1 vaccine from the state to begin dispensing clinics in central peninsula schools next week.
"This is the first of several clinics we're hoping to do," said Dori Lynn Anderson, Public Information Officer with the Central Peninsula H1N1 Task Force. The health center is part of the task force.
All of the clinics will be held during the school day, the first of which will be Monday at Nikiski North Star, where about 120 students are scheduled to be vaccinated.
On Tuesday, clinics will occur at Mountain View Elementary in Kenai and Redoubt Elementary in Soldotna, where 150 and 110 students are scheduled, respectively.
Soldotna Elementary and Montessori will have a combined clinic Wednesday, Nov. 18, with 175 children scheduled. Kalifornsky Beach Elementary will have a clinic Friday, Nov. 20, where 100 students will receive the vaccine.
"The amounts are based on children whose parents have completed the state consent form authorizing them to receive the vaccination," Anderson said.
She added that these numbers should not be taken as an accurate reflection of how many children at each school have been vaccinated, since some kids may get vaccinated at their family doctor or the heath center.
According to Anderson, the task force's target is to vaccinate as many Kenai Peninsula Borough School District students as possible against the Novel H1N1 influenza, or swine flu, because of their risk of spreading the virus. Other clinics are planned in the coming weeks, pending future shipments of vaccine doses.
"The younger students will be vaccinated first," she said. "We're hoping to have more vaccines by December to follow-up with the middle and high-school students."
The Central Peninsula H1N1 Task Force consists of agencies including the Kenai Public Health Center, Army National Guard, Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Peninsula Community Health Services, Kenai police and fire departments, Nikiski Fire Department, Kenai Peninsula College, Central Peninsula Hospital and the Kenai Peninsula EMS Council.
Current information about Novel H1N1 virus can be found on the borough Web site at http://www.borough.kenai.ak.us/emergency/, the borough's school district site at http://www.kpbsd.k12.ak.us/default.aspx,, the state Web site at www.pandemicflu.alaska.gov,, by calling 714-2428 for local updates or the state of Alaska pan flu hot line 1-888-9panflu.
What you should know:
Symptoms of Novel H1N1 include fever, sore throat, muscle aches, cough and runny nose.
Watch for fast or trouble breathing, bluish-gray skin, dehydration, unconsciousness or appearing to be "out of it."
Remember, even if you are not sick, you can spread the germs at home or when you travel. Here are some tips to help stop the spread of the Novel H1N1 and seasonal influenza:
Wash your hands for 30 seconds in hot soapy water -- or use a hand sanitizer.
Cough in your sleeve or use a tissue -- then wash your hands.
Stay home if you're sick. Avoid close contact with others.
Who should get vaccinated:
The priority and high-risk groups recommended for receiving the Novel H1N1 influenza vaccine are:
Anyone who lives or cares for children younger than 6 months old;
Health care and emergency service workers;
Everyone ages 6 months to 24 years old; and
Adults 25 to 64 who have chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.
Who should not be vaccinated:
Those who should not be vaccinated are:
People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs;
People who have had a prior severe reaction to an influenza vaccination;
People who developed GBS within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine;
Children less than 6 months of age; and
People who have a moderate to severe illness with a fever. They should wait until they recover before getting vaccinated.
Information provided by Central Peninsula H1N1 Task Force.
Joseph Robertia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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