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H1N1 flu vaccine: Schools take measures to prevent flu spread

Beltrami County Nurse Dorothy Walton gives third-grader Olivia Sewall a nasal dose of the 2009 novel H1N1 flu vaccine. Bemidji schools are holding vaccination clinics for students ages 5-10. The process started Monday morning with students in Central Elementary School. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

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On Monday morning, more than 100 students ages 10 and younger from Central and St. Philip's elementary schools were first on the list of school clinics to receive vaccinations for the H1N1 flu virus.

Bemidji Area Schools District Nurse Sue Nokleby and Beltrami County Public Health's Supervisor of Family Health Darice Dwyer have worked together to coordinate and facilitate the school clinics.

"It went great today," Nokleby said. "The kids tolerated it well."

The vaccination was issued to students with written parent or guardian permission.

According to Nokleby, nasal sprays were issued most frequently. Injections are only given to students who are not able to take nasal injections because of underlying health factors, such as asthma.

"Beltrami County Public Health only has a limited amount of injections for kids who really need them," Nokleby said.

Students were given information to take home about receiving a second vaccine at a public health facility, Nokleby said.

Children younger than 10 need two doses of vaccine spaced at three weeks apart. There is no cost for the vaccine.

"Unless students have had a laboratory-confirmed case of the H1N1 flu virus, the Centers for Disease Control recommends they get vaccinated," Nokleby said. "Fu-like symptoms might mean something other than H1N1."

According to Nokleby, very few students were absent from school on the first day of school clinics. Students absent from school on clinic days can receive their H1N1 vaccination for free at Beltrami County Public Health.

"Public Health has been so cooperative. We've had a great partnership with them," Nokleby said.

Vaccination clinics continue today at Lincoln and Solway elementary schools. Schoolcraft Learning Community had vaccinations for children ages 10 and younger Nov. 18. Roughly 70 kids took part in the vaccination, said director Scott Anderson.

Students who have received their first H1N1 flu vaccination should be directed to Beltrami County Public Health's Family Health Department, located at 616 America Ave. N.W., Suite 130, Bemidji, after Dec. 1. Walk-in flu vaccinations are available on Mondays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"We anticipate a plan to issue vaccinations to middle school and high school students in the next several weeks," said Dwyer.

For further information about the vaccine or the Bemidji Area Schools vaccination clinics, call Nokleby at 333-3100 ext 209, or see the District's website at and click on the "School Vaccination Clinic Q & A."

Other sources of information about the H1N1 flu virus and the vaccine can also be found at

For other information, call the Flu Line at 333-8145 for an updated message on flu information

School clinics

- 8:45-11:30 a.m. today, Nov. 24, Lincoln Elementary School.

- 1-2:30 p.m. today, Nov. 24, Solway Elementary School.

- 8:45-11:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 30, Northern Elementary School.

- 8:45-11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, Horace May Elementary School.

- 1-2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, J.W. Smith Elementary School.