As Wellesley health officials develop plans to make H1N1 shots available at the middle and high schools, Superintendent Bella Wong is surveying parents to gauge their interest in the proposed voluntary vaccination program against swine flu.
The online survey asks parents whether -- if they choose to have their children vaccinated -- they would probably have it done at school or by a private medical provider.
Your personal information will remain anonymous, Wong wrote in a letter Thursday accompanying the survey. We are only interseted in the aggregate data to help us gauge how many days we should plan for, how much vaccine to order, and how much personel to enlist to manage and administer the shots.
The Wellesley Health Department appeared Tuesday night in front of the School Committee and the Board of Selectmen to outline their proposal for deterring the spread of the H1N1 virus for high school and middle school students.
Director Mary Suresh, health board chairman Shepard Cohen, and vice chair Marcia Testa Simonson detailed their plan to hold H1N1 vaccine clinics at Wellesley Middle and High School upon arrival of the vaccines.
Shepard said there is one thing we are certain of, that there is uncertainty, said Suresh. The main point is that we want to reduce the transmission of the H1N1.
The vaccine clinics proposed by the Health Department would take place on the premises of the middle and high school, with consent of the parents.
Parents of elementary age children are urged to take their children to their pediatrician. Children under the age of 10 need two shots for the H1N1 virus and younger children may feel more comfortable going to their own doctor, said Suresh.
We hope to move forward with vaccines for middle and high school, said Ilissa Povich, chair of the School Committee. The committee is very supportive of that. [The proposal] was very well received.
The clinics at the schools would be free and completely voluntary, said Suresh. Names of students would be recorded and consent forms would have to be signed by parents in order for a student to receive the vaccine.
Other precautions to combat the spread of the virus, such as washing hands and covering coughs, are strongly urged by the Health Department. They are also suggesting the middle and high school purchase and install hand sanitizer dispensers, said Cohen. Sinks are in the elementary classroom for the students to use.
We are very pleased they have taken such a proactive approach to this public health issue, said Barbara Searle, chair of the Board of Selectman. We are pleased of the voluntary program they are establishing.
The Health Department recently reached out to the Wellesley medical community to look for volunteers to help with the vaccination clinics. The state Board of Health is offering refresher courses on administering the vaccine for those who want to volunteer.
We are very grateful to everyone who has stepped forward and offered to help us, said Suresh.
Suresh said the vaccine is expected to arrive in November. Clinics for the H1N1 vaccinations have yet to be scheduled for the public. Seasonal flu clinics which were scheduled for mid-October were postponed last month due to priority of manufacturing vaccines for H1N1.
Caitlin Castello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.