H1N1 Vaccines are hereFriday, December 11, 2009 By Everlecia Taylor
Hand sanitizer sales have gone up this year. In fact, Blake supplied teachers with hand sanitizer for every classroom. All of these measures, in addition to proper hand washing have been taken in order to avoid catching and spreading Swine Flu, better known as H1N1. The H1N1 hit Hillsborough County hard early this semester with the temporary closing of Freedom High and Wilson Middle Schools. Here at Blake, there were around 17 confirmed H1N1 cases, said Blake’s school nurse Kay Behen. “Every day, I see an average of 10-15 students with flu-like symptoms,” she said. These cases were not all linked to H1N1, these students were simply ill. As a result of the possible pandemic, the government expedited a vaccine and Hillsborough County received it a few months ago. These vaccines are being given to students on school sites throughout the county. The Health Department started giving out swine flu vaccinations in late October to select middle and high schools. The Health department will be here Wednesday and Thursday vaccinated students who have parental permission for the nasal spray form of the vaccine. These vaccines are free to students and teachers. “Attendance rates have dropped due to Swine Flu symptoms,” said Principal Jacqueline Haynes. Students were encouraged to stay home after the discovery of any of the flu-like symptoms. This caused some students to worry about excessive absences, but since the district is no longer offering exam exceptions, students were at ease with taking the sick days. Even though the vaccines will be offered free of charge, some students are skeptical. “I wouldn’t get a flu shot! I’m scared, I saw this video about this lady who got the flu shot and now she can barely talk and she can’t walk forward only backward and run, that could happen to me,” Elise Harrison, a junior. Although there have not been any other serious side effects reported, some are just on the fence about the vaccine. According to the Center for Disease Control, CDC, most people have no side effects at all. “You can’t get the flu from getting the flu shot,” said Blake’s school nurse Kay Behen. “It’s available and free of charge and there is no reason why they [students] shouldn’t take advantage of it, especially those who have allergies and asthma,” added Nurse Behen.