Bourne Registering Children For First H1N1 Clinic
By: Diana T. Barth
The Bourne Board of Health has received a small portion of the 4,000 H1N1 vaccine doses it ordered, and has begun pre-registering children ages 2 to 9 years for a flu clinic set for Saturday, November 14. Parents of children in that age group should visit Bourne Town Hall or call or the Bourne Board of Health office at 508-759-0615 and register their eligible child.
The board is offering the vaccine to those in that age bracket, Health Agent Cynthia A. Coffin said, based on susceptibility and risk, using Centers for Disease Control and state Department of Public Health guidelines.
The vaccine the town is slated to receive will come in two formulations, Ms. Coffin said, something that will limit the distribution. Registrants will be signed up for one of the two formulations, based on age and medical history.
Children 2 and 3 years of age who do not have asthma or asthma-like conditions will be eligible to receive the live, attenuated vaccine known as FluMist. Children with asthma or asthma-like conditions are ineligible for the FluMist. Children from 4 to 9 years of age will be able to receive either the FluMist or an intramuscular injection.
The formulations of the vaccine the town has received are not approved for those under age 2 years. Those children will be offered the vaccine as soon as the town receives a formulation designed for them.
Only children within the target group assigned will be eligible for this first clinic. Parents are urged to bring their younger, eligible children in now, rather than wait to have them vaccinated with their older siblings; vaccination done to younger children will help in reducing the spread of the H1N1 virus at home and in the schools.
The children who pre-register will receive their vaccine at the town’s first clinic, scheduled for this Saturday, from 9 AM to noon. Registration for the clinic is on a first-come, first-served basis. Upon registration with the board of health office, children will be given a time slot and the location for the clinic.
The health board hopes to hold weekly Saturday clinics as vaccine arrives and may also add evening clinics as the doses it receives increase.
A two-page parental consent form will be available on the board of health webpage at www.townofbourne.com; or at the Board of Health office. This filled-out form must be brought to the clinic.
Preregistration for the clinic has already begun and will continue through Thursday, November 12, or until all of the doses the town has received have been assigned. In weeks to come, the town will expand the clinics to include children 10 to 18 years of age, then continue with ages 19 to 25 and then the general population.
“We ask for your cooperation and understanding with the very difficult task we have been assigned,” Ms. Coffin said. The 2-to-9-year target group has been chosen for a number of reasons. Children under 10 years of age must receive two doses of vaccine, the second being given 21 to 28 days after the first, so it is important to give them first dose as soon as possible, she said.
In addition, children under age 5 are most likely to require hospitalization in case of infection with the H1N1 virus. Those parents who are unable to register their children for this first clinic are asked to have patience. More vaccine will be arriving over the coming weeks.
Ms. Coffin said the town’s original goal was to offer vaccine to all school-age children during October. Due to the vaccine production limitations, this was not possible. Manufacture of the vaccine has been much slower than originally forecast.
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