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H1N1 vaccines to arrive shortly in elementary schools

Elementary schools in the Bemidji Area Schools District are expected to issue the 2009 H1N1 flu virus vaccines soon, said District superintendent Jim Hess.

The vaccinations will be in the form of nasal injections and will only be given to children ages 5 to 10.

Hess, along with District school nurse Sue Nokleby, is in the process of finalizing a schedule for the administering of the vaccinations.

"We are working out the details of the dates and times of when the vaccines will be ready," Hess said. "Children will not be assigned a vaccine without parent permission."

Parents can expect to receive a letter explaining the details of the vaccination. On the back of the letter will be a permission slip for them to sign if they choose to do so.

School staff will not receive the vaccination due to the tight supply of vaccinations, Hess said.

"The vaccine is in such scarce quantities right now," he said. "Children 10 years of age and younger are at a higher need of the vaccine than adults."

Hess reported the number of students absent from school because of flu-like symptoms had at one time reached 12 percent this flu season.

He said although the number of flu-like cases in the District has currently receded, he expects it to rebound again this season.

"Health officials have said the flu comes in waves or cycles. The vaccine is still a very good idea," he said.