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City high schoolers to get flu shots.

Byline: Aaron Nicodemus

The following correction was published in the Telegram & Gazette on Nov. 19, 2009:

Worcester public middle school students can receive H1N1 (swine) flu vaccinations on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Because of a reporter's error, the date was incorrect in yesterday's Telegram & Gazette.

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WORCESTER - The city will distribute H1N1 (swine) flu vaccines to high school students in the city's seven public high schools today, provided their parents fill out a medical questionnaire and sign a permission form.

Students at Burncoat High School, Claremont Academy, Doherty Memorial High School, North High School, South High Community School, University Park Campus School and Worcester Technical High School will be called to receive vaccinations in groups, based on their last names. Vaccinations start at 8 a.m.

Middle school students can receive H1N1 vaccines next Wednesday, Nov. 25, while elementary school students will receive them in early December. (SEE PUBLISHED CORRECTION)

According to Dave W. Clemons, the city's director of emergency management, 843 high school students had returned signed consent forms by the end of the school day on Tuesday. He said he hoped more students would return the forms before the clinic began. The forms had a series of medical questions, to determine if the student should receive the nasal H1N1 vaccine, which is a weakened but live version of the flu, or the injected vaccine.

"We'd love to vaccinate 1,500 kids," he said.

Mr. Clemons said high school students would receive the H1N1 vaccine first because it is easier, logistically, to distribute the vaccines in the city's seven high schools and four middle schools than it is in its 33 elementary schools. The high schools and middle schools also have more students, he said.

"We could get more bang for the buck," he said.

There are other complications in distributing H1N1 vaccines at elementary schools.

While high school and middle school students can receive a vaccine with a signed permission form, parents or guardians will have to accompany elementary-age children when they receive the vaccination at school.

In addition, children younger than 9 will have to receive two H1N1 vaccinations to be fully vaccinated. The city will schedule a second round of vaccinations 21-30 days after the first round, the city press release said.

Other school districts and local boards of health have begun holding H1N1 vaccine clinics.

Fitchburg and Gardner are holding H1N1 vaccine clinics all this week for children aged 6 months to 18. A clinic is being held tonight and Thursday night from 5 to 8 at the Fitchburg Community Health Center on Nichols Road, as well as on Thursday in Gardner from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Greater Gardner Community Health Center on Connors Street. For more information and other scheduled clinics, see the Web sites for the cities of Fitchburg and Gardner.

Worcester students not enrolled in public schools, as well as college students, will receive the vaccines as they become available, the city press release said.

Mr. Clemons said that the city will hold public H1N1 flu vaccination clinics at city schools in December, as more vaccine becomes available. Those vaccine clinics will be held after school hours, he said, and would not be restricted to public school students.

The city's first public H1N1 vaccine clinic, held on Nov. 2 at the Worcester Senior Center, drew people from as far away as Cambridge and Providence. More than 1,000 people were vaccinated in that clinic, which had long lines. On Nov. 4, approximately 230 first responders in Worcester - police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians - received H1N1 vaccines in two clinics, according to a city press release.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Nov 18, 2009
Words:604
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