SJ Unified Schools to offer H1N1 vaccine

November 4, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Many Bay Area schools are worried about the budget, but they're all concerned about the H1N1 virus. The San Jose Unified School District is doing something that no other system in the South Bay has been able to do. There's a large effort to protect 32,000 students.

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"There are very few people who have immunity to this new type of virus," said a doctor to a crowd of parents and unfortunately, it is the reality of the H1N1 virus.

That's why the San Jose Unified School District is taking an aggressive stand by offering vaccines to students for free.

The school board authorized the vaccinations on campus at a meeting Tuesday night. It is the only district in the entire county to do so. The main reason is because they have enough school nurses to take charge of the program.

"We're able to step in where public health couldn't offer the vaccines, we were able to say, 'We can supply the nurses, if you help us, if you supply the oversight,'" said Melinda Landau, from SJUSD health services.

Public health trained the schools' staff. Starting Thursday, students will take consent forms home to their parents. Nevertheless, on Wednesday night parents attended an informational H1N1 meeting at Willow Glen High School. The reaction to the on campus availability was mixed.

"I plan to get them vaccinated," said parent Chris Calderon.

"It's been such a rush that they've put this into production, that I just want to make sure something wasn't missed when they were producing it," said parent Sarah Stefanescu.

It's a sentiment felt nationwide. According to an ABC News poll, only six out of 10 parents plan to vaccinate their children. The main concerns involve safety and side effects. Health experts are trying to calm parents' nerves through a national campaign.

"Mostly sore arms, malaise, fever, things like that," said Bruce Gellin from the National Vaccine Program Office. "So far we haven't seen anything that worries us."

Local pediatricians gave these parents the same information. It was enough to convince Linda Sanchez to vaccinate her son.

"So more than likely will give it to him," said parent.

Vaccinations will begin November 16th.

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