SAYRE – The Sayre Area School District in Bradford County became the first Pennsylvania school district to begin administering Novel H1N1 influenza vaccine to its student population, the Department of Health announced.
The department also reminded all parents that immunizations play a significant role in keeping children healthy.
"The H1N1 virus is disproportionately affecting school-aged children, with almost two-thirds of all cases in Pennsylvania seen in those aged 5-24 years," said acting state Physician General Dr. Stephen Ostroff. "The H1N1 vaccine offers the best protection to school students against this virus."
The Sayre Area School District is using the live, attenuated influenza vaccine, or LAIV, also known by the brand name FluMist. This vaccine is a nasal spray and is licensed for healthy persons between 2-49 years of age. This vaccine is not recommended for some members of the other priority groups, including pregnant women, children under two years of age, those with certain underlying health conditions, and healthcare providers who care for patients with significant impairments in their immune system. The Department of Health will also provide the injectable form of the flu vaccine.
Children under 10 years of age will need to receive a second dose of the vaccine at least 21 days after their first dose. Those students are scheduled to get their second dose on Nov. 13. The Department of Health will work with the school district to assure there will be vaccine available to those students who need to receive the second dose.
Today's vaccination clinic at Sayre Junior-Senior High School was organized and run by the Sayre School District with assistance from the Department of Health District Office and State Health Center in Bradford County. More than 400 students signed up to be immunized.
Across Pennsylvania, the Department of Health continues to work with providers to assure vaccine reaches individuals in the five recommended groups identified by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP. The department expects to have at least 2.5 million doses available by the end of October for distribution to all parts of the state.
To find an H1N1 vaccination site, those in the recommended groups should contact their healthcare provider or their child's school. If neither will be providing the vaccine, please call 1-877-PA-Health for more information about how to receive the vaccine.
Additional vaccine is expected to be available for those not in the recommended groups by early November.
For more information on vaccination sites for the general public, visit www.H1N1inPA.com.