Janesville29.4°

Tentative dates set for swine flu shot clinics

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GINA R. HEINE
October 15, 2009
— The Rock County Health Department is preparing to mass vaccinate kids with the H1N1, or swine, flu vaccine at schools in each district of the county starting Oct. 27.

The clinics are only for individuals 6 months to 24 years old, and parents must be present with their minor children. The swine flu shot through the health department is free.


The clinics are tentative, however, because the injectable vaccine has not yet arrived.


“We’ve scheduled the clinics in anticipation that the vaccine will be here in time,” Health Officer Karen Cain said. “I do anticipate it will be here in time, really.”


Students don’t have to attend the clinic at their district, she said.


“We know everybody isn’t going to be available (for the clinic at their school), so they can go to any school district,” she said.


Only the injectable vaccines will be offered at the school clinics. Mercury-free vaccines will be available. Individuals seeking the nasal spray vaccine must call the health department to make an appointment.


A second dose of the swine flu shot is required for kids 9 and younger, to be given at least 28 days after the first dose, Cain said. The health department will determine how to give the second dose based on turnout at the first round of clinics, she said.


The swine flu vaccine does not protect against the seasonal flu. Seasonal flu shots still are available, Cain said. People hearing of shortages of the seasonal flu vaccine shouldn’t worry, she said. People can get the seasonal flu shot well into November and December, which is typically when the health department gives their shots. Officials moved up clinics this year to prepare for the swine flu shot clinics.


A community clinic for high-risk Rock County residents will be held Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Rock County Job Center. After Nov. 1, high-risk residents also can call the health department at (608) 757-5440 to make appointments.


School situation


Absentee rates in Janesville schools have been no where near the rates that have pushed officials recently to cancel classes around the state, said Mat Haeger, Janesville School District’s manager of health and safety.


District officials monitor absentee rates at four schools scattered across the city: Kennedy and Lincoln elementary schools, Franklin Middle School and Craig High School. Student absentee rates have ranged between 4 percent and 5 percent there, Haeger said, while he’s heard some other schools were as high as 6 percent.


“Right now our numbers are looking good,” he said.


When the rate hits 10 percent at the surveying schools, the district starts additional measures to monitor and address student and staff illnesses, he said.


In Edgerton, Superintendent Norm Fjelstad announced this week he would close a school only if there was not enough staff to run it.


“If there are insufficient staff to cover classes and deliver education in the district, we will close. This will be after we have ‘doubled up classes’ where reasonable and looked at all of the options available to us,” Fjelstad said in a memo to staff.


Fjelstad said schools would close based on student absences alone, however, if the county health department ordered it, but doing so would be problematic.


The biggest problem might be the need for makeup days. The state will still require schools to provide the legally required days and minutes of instruction, Fjelstad wrote. Other problems would include teacher-contract issues and transportation that was not budgeted.


Edgerton could use the two “snow days” built into the schedule for this purpose, but if schools are required to stay closed for more than two days, those days will be made up at the end of the school year, Fjelstad said.


“Please keep in mind that this is a possibility and you should not schedule vacations, purchase airline tickets for travel or make any other arrangements at least for the month of June that would create a hardship for you if we have to make up days or weeks of school,” he wrote.


Reporter Frank Schultz contributed to this story.
Rock County Health Department H1N1/Swine Flu Clinics

The Rock County Health Department will hold swine flu clinics to vaccinate only young people, 6 months old to 24 years, in each school district. The shot is free. A parent must be present with his or her minor children. Clinics are tentative based on vaccine availability.


All clinics are from 3 to 7 p.m.


-- Clinton: Tuesday, Oct. 27, at the high school gymnasium, 111 Milwaukee St., Clinton.


-- Beloit-Turner: Wednesday, Oct. 28, at Powers Elementary gymnasium, 620 Hillside Drive, Beloit.


-- Beloit: Tuesday, Nov. 3, at Converse Elementary gymnasium, 1602 Townline Ave., Beloit, and Wednesday, Nov. 4, at Aldrich Middle School cafeteria, 1859 Northgate Drive, Beloit.


-- Parkview: Thursday, Nov. 5, at the junior/senior high school cafeteria, 106 W. Church St., Orfordville.


-- Janesville: Tuesday, Nov. 10, at Edison Middle School cafeteria, 1649 S. Chatham St., Janesville; Wednesday, Nov. 11, at Franklin Middle School cafeteria, 450 N. Crosby Ave., Janesville; Thursday, Nov. 12, at Monroe Elementary School gymnasium, 55 S. Pontiac Drive, Janesville.


-- Edgerton: Tuesday, Nov. 17, at the Community Elementary School gymnasium, 100 Elm High Drive, Edgerton.


-- Milton: Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the high school commons/cafeteria, 114 W. High St., Milton.


-- Evansville: Thursday, Nov. 19, at the high school commons/cafeteria, 640 S. Fifth St., Evansville.


Rock County community-wide clinic

A community clinic for high-risk residents will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Rock County Job Center, 1900 Center Ave., Janesville.


The clinic will be for pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months old, health care and emergency medical services personnel with direct patient contact, people from 6 months old to 24 years and people 25 to 64 years old with conditions associated with higher risk of complications from flu such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma and kidney disease.


To make an appointment


After Nov. 1, individuals meeting one or more of the above risk factors can receive a swine flu shot by calling the health department at (608) 757-5440.


More information


The health department has set up a recording in English and Spanish on swine flu topics. Callers can dial (608) 741-5200 anytime. Information also is available on the department’s Web site at www.co.rock.wi.us/Dept/Health/Health.htm.

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