November 2, 2009 -
In order to expedite getting H1N1 vaccinations to priority groups, Knox County Health Department (KCHD) will begin in-school H1N1 intranasal vaccination clinics on Wednesday, Nov. 4 through Friday, Nov. 6. The in-school vaccine clinic schedule for this week is below. It is essentially the same schedule used in October for FluMist. However, schedule changes will be made to accommodate vaccine supply. For example: KCHD currently has 3300 doses available, which will allow 20 schools to be vaccinated this week.
H1N1 intranasal vaccine is manufactured and administered the same as FluMist, except with a different flu strain (FluMist is the registered name of the seasonal flu intranasal vaccine manufactured by MedImmune that has been administered in Knox County schools for the past five years to prevent seasonal flu. Knox County Schools have not closed due to seasonal flu during that time. Two Knox County schools were closed last spring following CDC guidelines for H1N1 flu. Those recommendations have since changed.)
“Young people between the ages of 2 and 24 are among the hardest hit by H1N1 flu. We want to be proactive about getting vaccine out where it can protect children, not sitting here in a refrigerator,” said Mark Jones, KCHD director. “Our staff has been planning to do in-school H1N1 vaccination clinics since early on when we thought vaccine would be more plentiful. Even with vaccine supply delays, we feel this is the best plan for protecting the public.”
H1N1 vaccinations in the schools will be more challenging than seasonal vaccination clinics for these reasons:
1) H1N1 intranasal vaccine delivery by the distributors has been in small bulks.
2) Clinics will be scheduled on a week-by-week basis, depending on vaccine availability.
Unlike seasonal FluMist school clinics, where KCHD staff plans clinics in four-week schedules, H1N1 in-school vaccinations will have to be scheduled week-to-week contingent on vaccine delivery. Vaccine delivery delays may mean some weeks have no clinics scheduled.
“Knox County Health Department is the best in the country in vaccinating children with our FluMist model,” said Jennifer Johnson, KCHD interim nursing director and in-school clinic coordinator. “There are challenges with vaccine supply, but our number one goal is to protect Knox County citizens. We ask the public for their patience and understanding in this matter, and to call us if they have questions.”
The H1N1 intranasal mist is a live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), which is FDA approved for healthy, non-pregnant people between the ages of 2 and 49 years old. There is no risk of developing the flu from a live virus vaccine. NO cases of flu have been linked to receiving LAIV. According to Tennessee Department of Health, there have been no reports of adverse events in the state related to the H1N1 vaccine.
“Parents and children are comfortable and familiar with the in-school flu vaccination campaign because we’ve done it for so many years,” said Dr. Martha Buchanan, KCHD medical director. “This is a safe, easy and quick way to protect a lot of kids, and we can do it just as fast as the vaccine arrives. Our staff is trained and experienced in doing mass vaccination clinics.”
Knox County’s in-school flu vaccination program, which began in 2004, is a national model for community flu prevention campaigns. Evidence supports vaccinating children as a way to protect the entire community from influenza. Each fall, Knox County public health professionals vaccinate an average of more than 28,000 school children with FluMist during a four-week period. Last year, Head Start students and child care enrollees were added.
Knox County Health Department’s flu information line will be open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until further notice: 215-5555. Additional information also can be found at www.knoxcounty.org/flu and www.flu.gov or by calling 211 or the Tennessee Department of Health Flu Information Line at 1-877-252-3432.
In-School H1N1 Intranasal Vaccine Schedule Nov.4-6
1 Sarah M. Greene Elementary Wednesday, Nov 4
2 Spring Hill Elementary Wednesday, Nov 4
3 Pond Gap Elementary Wednesday, Nov 4
4 West Hills Elementary Wednesday, Nov 4
5 Sunnyview Elementary Wednesday, Nov 4
6 West Haven Elementary Wednesday, Nov 4
7 Sam E. Hill Preschool Wednesday, Nov 4
8 West View Elementary Wednesday, Nov 4
1 Powell Elementary Thursday, Nov 5
2 Ball Camp Elementary Thursday, Nov 5
3 Sequoyah Elementary Thursday, Nov 5
4 Pleasant Ridge Elementary Thursday, Nov 5
5 Episcopal School of Knoxville Thursday, Nov 5
6 Ritta Elementary Thursday, Nov 5
7 Arnstein Jewish Comm Preschool Thursday, Nov 5
1 Lonsdale Elementary Friday, Nov 6
2 Inskip Elementary Friday, Nov 6
3 Karns Elementary Friday, Nov 6
4 Sterchi Elementary Friday, Nov 6
5 Mount Olive Elementary Friday, Nov 6
6 Mooreland Heights Elementary Friday, Nov 6
7 New Hopewell Elementary Friday, Nov 6