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H1N1 clinics to be offered at Fayette schools

Fayette County Public Schools and the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department will offer in-school H1N1 flu immunization clinics for students and school employees starting Jan. 19.

Nasal mist and injectable vaccines will be offered at no cost and on a voluntary basis, officials said Tuesday. No student can be immunized without a consent form signed by a parent or guardian, school district officials said.

Dr. Melinda Rowe, commissioner of the health department, stressed that it's still important for children to be immunized because the H1N1 flu threat is not over.

"We're in kind of a lull right now," Rowe said. "But influenza viruses, especially new ones like H1N1, tend to come in waves.

"So, we're concerned about another wave of H1N1 disease in early 2010. We want as many Fayette County children to be protected as possible ... and the best protection is to get the H1N1 vaccine."

The first round of in-school immunizations will be Jan. 19, and Superintendent Stu Silberman said the plan is to eventually have a clinic in each school in the district.

Schedules of in-school immunizations are available on the Fayette County Public Schools Web site — www.fcps.net — and at www.LexFluCrew.com.

The school district sent consent forms and other flu information home with students Tuesday.

Consent forms and related information also can be downloaded from the school district's Web site or from www.LexFluCrew.com.

Consent forms must be completed and returned no later than Jan. 13, officials said.

Rowe noted that youngsters or others with underlying health problems, such as asthma or diabetes, cannot receive the nasal mist vaccine.

She also said that individuals who are allergic to eggs or who previously have had a bad reaction to a flu shot cannot get H1N1 vaccine at the school clinics and should contact their doctors for guidance.

Jefferson County, Madison County and some other county school districts have held in-school clinics. But Rowe said that because flu vaccine supplies were limited at first, the Fayette County health department chose to hold mass public vaccinations first to reach high-risk individuals. The department held four mass vaccinations from late October through early December.

But with vaccine supplies growing, it's time to move to in-school immunizations, Rowe said.

Updated information on the in-school clinics is available by calling the health department's Flu Hotline at (859) 288-7529.

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