The Food and Drug Administration approved an H1N1 flu vaccine Tuesday afternoon.
The agency approved applications from four manufacturers to make the vaccine which will be used in conjunction with the seasonal flu vaccine.
The plan is to release a large dose of the vaccine in mid-October to as many as 90,000 sites across the country. A few doses of the vaccine will be available earlier than that by about 10 days though it has not been specified where the early doses will go.
Researchers determined last week that one dose of the vaccine, which takes about eight to 10 days to activate once it is administered, will be enough to protect against the virus.
Health officials are urging pregnant women, school-age children and anyone with an underlying health condition such as diabetes, heart disease or lung disease to get the H1N1 vaccine when it becomes available.
Millennium Charter Academy has made arrangements to make seasonal flu vaccines available to both faculty and students at the school, however, a final decision about also having the H1N1 vaccine has not been reached.
In the meantime, the school is working to make students aware of the importance of taking precautions against the flu virus, both the H1N1 and the seasonal strains. The school is starting a clean hands campaign to raise awareness as well as developing a specific room for children who are sick to wait for their parents to arrive where they will be isolated and also be comfortable.
The Surry County School System has developed a plan to offer the seasonal flu vaccine to students and faculty in conjunction with the Surry County Health and Nutrition Center.
The vaccine will be made available to all students and faculty who are interested in receiving it at each of the system’s schools. Debbie Creed from the health and nutrition center met with the school system’s leadership team last Thursday to address the issue of the H1N1 virus and to help the school system in following the recommendations of the health department.
The Mount Airy City School System is preparing for the seasonal flu as well with students at B. H. Tharrington Primary eligible to receive the flu mist at the end of this week during health screenings and students at J. J. Jones Intermediate eligible to receive the flu mist next week. At Tharrington Primary, there are about 150 students slated to receive the mist right now.
Flu shots will be available to staff members as well as middle school and high school students in October. All of these treatments are being made available to students free of charge. If the H1N1 vaccine is available by the time of the scheduled flu shots in October, the school system will look into making that available for an additional charge.