The Columbia County Health Department has announced that free swine flu vaccination clinics will be held at schools throughout the county as soon as the shots become available. The state Department’s of Public Instruction and Health Services are actively encouraging county health departments to offer school-based clinics. Columbia County Public Health Officer Susan Lorenz says vaccinating children at school can help meet the demand for convenient, timely vaccination of school-aged children while decreasing the burden on local health care providers who may be busy treating those infected with the virus or seasonal influenza. School-based clinics for children in grades 5K thru 12 will be held during the school day in Columbus, Fall River, Lodi, Pardeeville, Portage, Poynette, Randolph and Rio. In addition, they will be holding school-based clinics in parochial schools including Columbus Peterson Elementary, Columbus St. Jerome’s, Columbus Wisconsin Academy, Columbus Zion Lutheran, Randolph Christian, and Pardeeville St. John’s. Lorenz says the health department will be contacting parents and sending them information about the vaccine, the disease, and the vaccination clinic. They will also be requesting that parents either provide or decline consent for the vaccine. There will be no cost for children to receive the H1N1 vaccine.
Meanwhile Dodge County, Public Health Officer Jody Langfeldt says she will be contacting schools in the next week to determine if they would be interested in hosting a free swine flu clinic for students. Langfeldt says some school officials have already indicated that they would be receptive to hosting clinics but expressed reservations about doing it during school hours. The vaccines are expected to be available around mid-October but Langfeldt says it may be the end of next month before the first clinics are held.