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Students need consent forms for H1N1 flu shots

October 30, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. -- Parents of public school students in Berkeley County need to have consent forms returned by Tuesday to allow their children to be vaccinated for H1N1 flu, school officials announced Friday.

The announcement to remind parents of the deadline comes after less than 40 percent of the students at Martinsburg South Middle School were vaccinated Tuesday by the Berkeley County Health Department, Berkeley County Schools spokeswoman Jaimee Borger said.

"Obviously, we want to increase those numbers," Borger said.

South Middle School, with an enrollment of more than 850 students, was the first to be visited by the health department as part of a countywide vaccination effort.

Health department administrator Bill Kearns said 312 students were treated in an hour and 15 minutes in the vaccination clinic at the school.

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"I couldn't expect it go any better," Kearns said of the clinic's class-by-class vaccination operation. "The (school) administration really helped out a lot to make it happen that way."

Kearns said the health department on Thursday provided vaccinations at St. Joseph School in Martinsburg and at Martinsburg Christian Academy.

While the swine flu vaccination is free for students, Kearns said he thinks there is "a lot of apprehension" about the vaccine.

The health department is scheduled to take its vaccination clinic operation to Potomack Intermediate and Bedington Elementary schools on Thursday, Kearns said.

If students miss the vaccination clinic at their school, they can go to the health department for the vaccine, Kearns said.

Next week, Cathy Slemp, West Virginia state health officer, and John Law, assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources, are expected to visit Berkeley Heights Elementary School and Hedgesville (W.Va.) Middle School as part of an effort by Gov. Joe Manchin to assure school officials statewide that West Virginia is prepared for the flu season, according to the governor's communications office.

Berkeley County Schools' H1N1 vaccination schedule is being updated on the school system's Web site at http://berkeleycountyschools.org.

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