02 October 2009
As you may have heard, a new flu virus, called the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, was first identified in the United States in late April 2009. The virus has caused illness ranging from mild to severe, including hospitalizations and deaths in adults and children. Many children have gotten 2009 H1N1 infection and there have been large outbreaks in some schools across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee on ImmunizationPractices has recommended that children and young adults aged 6 months through 24 years be vaccinated against 2009 H1N1 as soon as the vaccine is available. Other groups recommended to get the first available doses of the vaccine include:
- Pregnant women
- People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age
- Health care and emergency medical services workers, and
- People ages 25 through 64 years who have certain health conditions such as HIV, diabetes, or heart or lung disease.
Children under age ten are expected to need two doses of vaccine spaced about 3 weeks apart. Older children wil likely need just one shot. Only the inactivated influenza vaccine injections wil be available at school -- not the live-virus form of vaccine administered by nasal spray. There wil be no cost to you for this vaccine. Immunizations will be administered by experienced nurses under the supervision of the health department.
If you have any questions about the vaccine or the vaccination clinics, contact our local school or the health department. Please visit the CDC's 2009 H1N1 influenza web site at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/ and also http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/parents for information especially for parents. Your child's health care provider can also answer your questions about the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus and may be able to give your child either the 2009 H1N1 vaccine injection or vaccine nasal spray.
James Edstam MD MPH