Contact: Collette DuValle, 317-373-2391

School-Based H1N1 Clinics Surpass Expectations

More than half of Indianapolis elementary-aged public school students offered the H1N1 vaccine took it during the first two weeks of the Marion County Health Department school-based clinics.

During the first two weeks of the campaign, more than 21,580 elementary-aged students have been vaccinated in 86 school clinics. Participation rates ranged from a high of 96.5% to 20% with a per school average of 51.2%, above what local officials had hoped to see. The total represents 86 of 119 schools that have held clinics. Results from the other 33 schools are being entered into the health department's database.

"This is a reflection of our parents and guardians, our students and our schools. Without their cooperation we could not have achieved this early success," said Virginia A. Caine, M.D., director, Marion County Health Department.

Excellent communication from the health department to the schools and from the schools to parents and guardians has been a key factor in the high rate of participation.

"As a community we have done a very good job learning about this virus and the importance of getting the vaccine to our school-aged children. We look forward to this same result as we host clinics for our middle and high school students in the coming weeks," said Dr. Caine.

Starting December 2, nurses will begin vaccinating middle and high school students.

Children in parochial, charter and private schools are also part of the vaccination plan.

After-school clinics will be held in some districts with the goal of offering the vaccine to a majority of school-aged children by December 18.

Parents and guardians are reminded that a completed consent form must be returned to the school by the due date. Consent forms that are not complete or turned in late may mean the student will not receive the H1N1 vaccine. The consent forms are important for several reasons, including determining how much vaccine and which type of vaccine is needed at each school.

Those with flu-related questions can contact the Marion County Health Department Flu Helpline. The bi-lingual helpline is available Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Information also is available at www.mchd.com.

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