School waits for flu vaccines

By Sadé Tavangarian

 

The school has ordered vaccinations for the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu. Although these vaccinations have not yet arrived, students will be able to receive H1N1 vaccinations on campus. For now, the school must wait as the Centers for Disease Control try to produce and distribute enough vaccine to meet demand.

Community Health Officer and Director of Sports Medicine Sandee Teruya wrote a letter to families last month informing them that the school was ordering H1N1 vaccines. Teruya does not know when the vaccines will arrive.

Included with Teruya’s letter was a parental authorization form for students to receive vaccinations.

“At this time, I have received hundreds of signed authorizations from parents wanting their children vaccinated,” Teruya said.

High school students are among those the CDC says should be vaccinated first, because they are most at risk from swine flu. But the vaccine’s limited availability has made it difficult to find even for these priority groups.

After H1N1 was first identified in the United States in April, the CDC started growing H1N1 vaccine in eggs. The CDC says there will not be a shortage of the vaccine; they plan to produce enough for everyone in the country. They began distributing vaccine in October.

In California, any school that employs a medical director is eligible to order vaccines. In this case, that means Teruya.

“We decided to provide the vaccinations to help our community stay as healthy as possible since we have had a few isolated cases of H1N1,” Teruya said in an e-mail.

Students who have a life-threatening allergy to eggs or seasonal flu vaccines should not be vaccinated for H1N1.

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