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Wellesley parents surveyed on swine flu shots

Posted by Leslie Anderson  October 11, 2009 09:21 AM

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As Wellesley health officials develop plans to make H1N1 shots available at the middle and high schools, Superintendent Bella Wong is surveying parents to gauge their interest in the proposed voluntary vaccination program against swine flu.

The online survey asks parents whether -- if they choose to have their children vaccinated -- they would probably have it done at school or by a private medical provider.

‘‘Your personal information will remain anonymous,’’ Wong wrote in a letter Thursday accompanying the survey. ‘‘We are only interseted in the aggregate data to help us gauge how many days we should plan for, how much vaccine to order, and how much personel to enlist to manage and administer the shots.’’

The Wellesley Health Department appeared Tuesday night in front of the School Committee and the Board of Selectmen to outline their proposal for deterring the spread of the H1N1 virus for high school and middle school students.

Director Mary Suresh, health board chairman Shepard Cohen, and vice chair Marcia Testa Simonson detailed their plan to hold H1N1 vaccine clinics at Wellesley Middle and High School upon arrival of the vaccines.

‘‘Shepard said there is one thing we are certain of, that there is uncertainty,’’ said Suresh. ‘‘The main point is that we want to reduce the transmission of the H1N1.’’

The vaccine clinics proposed by the Health Department would take place on the premises of the middle and high school, with consent of the parents.

Parents of elementary age children are urged to take their children to their pediatrician. Children under the age of 10 need two shots for the H1N1 virus and younger children may feel more comfortable going to their own doctor, said Suresh.

‘‘We hope to move forward with vaccines for middle and high school,’’ said Ilissa Povich, chair of the School Committee. ‘‘The committee is very supportive of that. [The proposal] was very well received.’’

The clinics at the schools would be free and completely voluntary, said Suresh. Names of students would be recorded and consent forms would have to be signed by parents in order for a student to receive the vaccine.

Other precautions to combat the spread of the virus, such as washing hands and covering coughs, are strongly urged by the Health Department. They are also suggesting the middle and high school purchase and install hand sanitizer dispensers, said Cohen. Sinks are in the elementary classroom for the students to use.

‘‘We are very pleased they have taken such a proactive approach to this public health issue,’’ said Barbara Searle, chair of the Board of Selectman. ‘‘We are pleased of the voluntary program they are establishing.’’

The Health Department recently reached out to the Wellesley medical community to look for volunteers to help with the vaccination clinics. The state Board of Health is offering refresher courses on administering the vaccine for those who want to volunteer.

‘‘We are very grateful to everyone who has stepped forward and offered to help us,’’ said Suresh.

Suresh said the vaccine is expected to arrive in November. Clinics for the H1N1 vaccinations have yet to be scheduled for the public. Seasonal flu clinics which were scheduled for mid-October were postponed last month due to priority of manufacturing vaccines for H1N1.

Caitlin Castello can be reached at

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2 comments so far...
  1. 1. Swine flu vaccines are considered to be safe and effective as the initial symptom is mild.

    2. In my surmise, what is needed most is neither excessive panic over swine flu vaccines nor complacency on the continued pork in-take and unclean environment involving personal hygiene. The primary focus needs to be fixed on the mutation of flu virus followed by the consistent consumption of pork.

    (( Genes included in the new swine flu have been circulating undetected in pigs for at least a decade, according to researchers who have sequenced the genomes of more than 50 samples of the virus. The findings suggest that in the future, pig populations will need to be monitored more closely for emerging influenza viruses, reported a team led by Rebecca Garten of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a report released by the journal Science.))

    3. I personally recognize that wheat is a far better diet than meat on the ground it usually goes out of body with ease and rapidity, and we are well aware that our heath depends upon smooth metabolism and blood stream associated with the immune system and how important our daily workout is, as well.

    I still think the critical conditions mostly come from breach of our immune system, and the food that stays long in the body is more likely to become a source where germs, bacterias and the like multiply.
    Sounds outlandish, but wheat might be a principal "clean and healthy" food that has led western society to the most decent culture of all.

    4. Additionally, a simple action like brushing teeth following each and every meal could make a big difference in our immune system, let alone workout, I believe.

    5. Provided the average temperature is getting higher, accordingly all forms of germs, viruses, and influenza etc are more likely to multiply.

    Some skeptics say the warning against hazards of climate change is overstated, but judging from more frequent and widespread outbreaks of e. coli, salmonella, and bird, swine flu cases endangering human lives and economic recovery seriously, some prompt measures need to be taken, I guess.

    Thank You !

    Posted by hsr0601 October 11, 09 01:05 PM
  1. For one - don't take the swine flu vaccine. Too many unknowns. It would be safer to get the swine flu, which isn't that bad, stay home for a couple days take some Nyquil and you'll be fine.
    In response to hsr0601 - 5. Provided the average temperature is getting higher... Do you have any data to corroborate that?

    Posted by porcupinepatriot22 October 12, 09 12:44 PM