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Second round of flu shots for youths in works

By Staff | Nov 6, 2009

Parents whose children need a second dose of the H1N1 vaccine do not need to worry about getting it after the public clinics close Nov. 21, according to the Lee County Health Department.
Children under the age of 10 who have visited a public clinic at one of Lee County’s high schools were told after the vaccination that they will need a second dose given at least 21 days apart.
Yet the countywide, free clinics end Nov. 21, leading some parents to worry about how their child will get their second dose.
Jennifer James-Mesloh, spokesperson for the health department, said officials are working out the details of a second round of H1N1 vaccinations, although it will not resemble the current, public clinic model.
“We will have a second round. Whether it looks exactly like it is today, it probably won’t,” she said. “At this point those plans are still in the works.”
The second round is also being hashed out for the thousands of Lee County residents who have not received a shot because they are not a member of a high priority group — pregnant women, children and health care workers.
Only people in a high priority group are allowed to get the vaccine at the public clinics.
James-Mesloh said a new round of vaccines could be offered in physician offices or at the health department, but arrangements will be made for those children who need a second dose.
She said the vaccine has already been distributed to local pediatricians and obstetricians.
“As the vaccine becomes available, we have been distributing those to pediatricians and obstetricians in the community so they can service their patients,” James-Mesloh said.
Health officials estimate that 10,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered in Lee County, and the public clinics will be open for another two weeks.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases released a study Monday stating that children under the age of 9 “significantly improved immune response when given a second 15-microgram dose of 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine.”
During the study, the NIAID followed the immune response for children, ranging in age from 6 months to 17 years old, who received two doses.
The Lee County Health Department has canceled upcoming clinics at Cape Coral High School on Monday and at East Lee County High on Tuesday.
“In reviewing the upcoming clinic schedules we determined the combination of heavy road construction surrounding Cape Coral High School, coupled with the lengthy walking distance from the parking area to the clinic site, makes access difficult for disabled persons and parents with strollers,” said director Dr. Judith Hartner.