Updated: Swine flu vaccinations delayed for many students as Washtenaw County deals with shortage
Washtenaw County schools have been told they won’t be able to offer as many swine flu vaccinations as originally projected - at least for now.
The news came Wednesday as schools reported to the county
that they saw flu levels last week that rival the typical peak of flu season.
And local health care providers have reported increases in
calls from parents about flu-like symptoms.
The news came Wednesday as schools reported to the county that they saw flu levels last week that rival the typical peak of flu season. And local health care providers have reported increases in calls from parents about flu-like symptoms.
The amount of vaccine that’s arrived in the county so far is only about 30 percent of what the county says it needs. And it is much less than what was expecting at this point - a problem being seen around the country.
â€¢ Ypsilanti Public Schools: Nov. 2 at Ypsilanti High School from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
â€¢ Dexter Community Schools: Nov. 3 at Creekside Intermediate School from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
â€¢ Ann Arbor Public Schools: Nov. 5 at Huron High School from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
â€¢ Milan Area Schools: Nov. 6 at Milan High School from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The clinics are open to any one in Washtenaw County who fits the narrowed definition of being in a priority group.
"Given our limited supply, we have to concentrate on vaccinating those children and adults most at risk of complications," Richard Fleece, health officer for Washtenaw County Public Health said in a release.
The weekly amount of illness reported by schools to the county was double the previous week, likely due in part to cases of the novel H1N1 flu virus, said Laura Bauman, an epidemiologist for the county. October is much earlier in the year than when those levels of the flu would typically be seen, she said.
It will not be clear when the vaccine will become available to other children, adolescents and the general public. About 70 percent of those impacted by the flu are between 5 and 24 years old, and respiratory illnesses of some sort were reported in every district in the county, Bauman said. Officials have said schools are a strong indicator of the movement of illness throughout a community.
School and county officials are keeping a close eye on flu activity on the west side of the state, where some schools have closed because attendance was too low to hold regular classes.
Manchester has seen absence levels of about 15 percent to 17 percent, which is more typical of peak flu season. There was a spike in the absence rate Monday. The district sent information home to remind parents about preventing the spread of the flu and how to respond if their child becomes ill, said Manchester Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin.
In Milan, absentee rates are higher than usual for cold and flu season, but that could also be attributed to parents being more vigilant in keeping their children home when they feel ill, said Superintendent Bryan Girbach.
The Ann Arbor school district has seen upticks in cases of the flu, and some classrooms have seen higher spikes. But so far, the flu hasn't been widespread, said district spokeswoman Liz Margolis.