San Jose Unified begins H1N1 vaccination program

November 16, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
The San Jose Unified School District is about to begin its voluntary H1N1 vaccination program. The first flu clinic is on Tuesday at an elementary school, but misinformation about the vaccine will likely keep participation relatively low.

Nurses are getting ready to vaccinate hundreds of students at Lowell Elementary. This is the first school in the San Jose Unified School District offering free H1N1 vaccines. Principal Jodi Lax reminded her students about Tuesday's clinic at an assembly Monday morning.

"All the students started rubbing their arms like, 'Oh that's going to hurt,' and I reminded them that most of them would be getting the nasal spray and that it wouldn't actually hurt them at all," says Lax.

For most of the students, kids nine and under, this will be the first of two doses. The second will be given in January.

District nurses were hoping to vaccinate 75 percent of the students, but only about half signed up.

Parent Christina Rojas knows full well why others are balking. She has spoken to many parents who remain convinced the H1N1 vaccine is unsafe.

"There's a rumor that in Mexico, some people died due to the vaccine," says Rojas

The rumors are swirling here in the U.S. as well -- that the vaccine is made of monkey brains. And for one cheerleader, has caused her to walk backwards. District nurses are disheartened but not discouraged by the misinformation.

"If we get even 50 percent of these, it's the line of communicability. It's where it passes from one to the other to the other where, if you stop the middle person, it doesn't go to the third person," says Melinda Landau, R.N. with SJUSD's Health/Family Support.

First grader Aaniah will be among those who'll be getting the vaccine on Tuesday. Her mother had no hesitations.

San Jose Unified plans to offer the free H1N1 clinics at all of their 40 schools as the vaccines become available.


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