The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chose Somerville as one of 10 sites nationwide to hold these public meetings because of the city’s diverse ethnic and socioeconomic strata, said Paulette Renault-Caragianes, director of the Health Department, which helped run the Aug. 29 event.
With the changing information out there, attendees ‘‘were very interested in hearing directly from the CDC,’’ Renault-Caragianes said, and especially anted to learn whether the vaccine was safe. In turn, the CDC wanted feedback from the community on how to get the vaccine out.
According to Renault-Caragianes, Somerville had a few confirmed cases of swine flu last year; all the patients recovered well. This year, the city’s efforts focus on school-aged children, who are at highest risk. Officials are promoting hand-washing and have ordered more hand sanitizer dispensers for schools.
Once the Health Department gets its supply of the vaccine (probably in October), it will offer voluntary in-school vaccination clinics for students 9 years old through high school. Parents should keep an eye out for green flyers, the high-visibility way the city will send H1N1 updates all the way home.