Contact: Collette DuValle, 317-373-2391

School-Based H1N1 Clinics Vaccinate More Than 35,000 In First Two Weeks

The Brookview Elementary School media center was unusually noisy on this Thursday morning. The buzz was not about the book fair taking place down the hall or about today being Grandparents' Day. The topic from kindergartner to fifth grader was about vaccination day.

Mist or shot was the question of the moment. Would it hurt? How badly would it hurt? There were those not concerned at all, those who were cautiously optimistic and those who were scared to death. There were the vaccine veterans, those who, because of a variety of factors, were used to injections and who had to think that all of the drama was simply that, drama. Walk in, smile, sit down, sleeve up, injection, bandage, sleeve down and move on. These kids were awesome.

Nurse Jessica was the traffic controller, coordinating movement from the media center waiting room to the science lab turned vaccination clinic. As nervous students made their way into the vaccination area, Nurse Jessica consoled and provided the kind of courage inspiring reassurance only a school nurse could offer.

As students stood in line, grandparents made their way from the classroom to the cafeteria for a shared lunch. Many grandparents may have had a similar experience during an era when school vaccinations were more common.

The significance of the day was not the smooth order choreographed by the school administration, Nurse Jessica, the teachers, students or parent volunteers. The significance was not in the caring, professional manner in which the nurses gave the vaccine.

The remarkable part of this otherwise typical Thursday at Brookview Elementary was that it was, well, pretty typical. The book fair went on, grandparents made there way around the school, and yes, more than 300 children received the H1N1 vaccine. After the first two weeks of school-based clinics, the health department has vaccinated more than 40,000 elementary aged students.

This collaboration of public health, local schools, parents, teachers and students for a common cause is an example of the commitment our community has to our children and to each other. If vaccine supplies continue as expected, this partnership between schools and the health department will allow a vast majority of elementary-aged children to have the chance to be protected from the H1N1 virus.

It is quite remarkable that Indianapolis, Indiana has been able to coordinate such a massive undertaking when other communities have not.

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