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H1N1 Clinics Under Way In County For Students, School Staff

Halifax County students began receiving H1N1 or “Swine Flu” vaccinations Wednesday, according to Dr. Melanie Stanley, director of academies for the school system.

Students at Clays Mill Elementary School were the first to receive the free vaccinations from the Virginia Department of Health, Stanley said. Students at Meadville Elementary School are receiving the H1N1 vaccinations today (Friday), she added.

A total of 86 students received the H1N1 vaccine from health department staff members at Clays Mill Wednesday, according to Principal Sherry Cowan. Twenty-five faculty and staff members also received the vaccine.

“The children did so well, and the parents who came were very supportive,” Cowan said. “Dr. (Charles) Devine and his staff did an outstanding job.”

Several students received the nasal mist version of the vaccine, but most received the vaccine by injection, Cowan explained. “There were a few tears, but most of the children had no problems at all,” she said.

“We played music to soothe the waiting jitters, and each student was given a lollipop afterwards,” Cowan added. “Overall, they all showed courage as is typical of Clays Mill ‘Braves.’”

The principal also had words of praise for her teaching staff. “I have to give credit to my staff for their hard work that made the process flow so smoothly,” Cowan said.

The Virginia Department of Health is partnering with Halifax County Public Schools to offer the H1N1 vaccine to students, teachers and other school system employees at no charge.

A letter to parents, written jointly by Dr. Devine and Superintendent of Schools Paul Stapleton, was sent home Aug. 21 to all parents of students in Halifax County Public Schools. The letter contained information about the novel H1N1 influenza virus and precautions parents and students can take to help prevent the spread of the disease.

Dr. Devine warns that flu viruses spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people with flu. Parents can help protect their children and reduce the spread of both seasonal and novel H1N1 flu viruses by encouraging the use of good cough and hand hygiene etiquette and keeping the sick child at home or away from others while ill.

The health department is continuing its H1N1 vaccination clinics for students, faculty and staff members at Scottsburg Elementary on Monday, Nov. 2; Sinai Elementary on Wednesday, Nov. 4; Sydnor Jennings Elementary on Thursday, Nov. 5; and Cluster Springs Elementary and Cluster Springs Early Learning Center on Friday, Nov. 6.