Henrico Public Schools offering free H1N1 flu shots to students

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A health alert in Henrico where the school district has seen a spike in influenza-like illnesses. Free H1N1 flu shots will be made available to students but parents need to act now.

Crestview Elementary is one of nine Henrico schools where the H1N1 vaccine will first be distributed to students later this month. Parents have until the end of this week to sign and return this consent form.

11 year old Eli Green hasn't received a seasonal flu shot but his great grandfather is more concerned about swine flu. So he has no qualms about Eli getting vaccinated for it at school.

"I think it's fine I'm all for it because it's too dangerous to go without it," said Gene Akers.

Henrico Schools spokesperson Mychael Dickerson says student absences are up four to five percent from the same time last year. Between September 7th and now, nearly 2-thousand of the 49 thousand students have experienced flu-like illnesses.

"There has been a spike but we fully expect to know we have H1N1 in the community and in our schools and we're just in October who knows what November, December, January and February will hold," said Dickerson.

To help combat swine flu, the district will hold free H1N1 flu clinics from October 26th to November 9th. Parents will find consent forms inside just released information packets.

"If a student doesn't bring back a consent form or if there is a question about the form and the parent isn't available to talk to the nurse the student will not be given the vaccine," said Dickerson.

Sarah DuVal hasn't decided yet whether her six year old son will get the vaccine.

"I just don't see the point in putting a vaccine in him when he doesn't have symptoms or anything yet so I'm of more the natural approach, wait and see," said DuVal.

Dickerson says both the district and health officials are encouraging that students get the free swine flu vaccine and the district expects a huge response.  

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