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Flu vaccine to be made available to students

by Larry S. Chowning

The Middlesex County School Board has approved an agreement with the Three Rivers Health District to conduct an in-school influenza program using health department nurses to administer vaccine against the H1N1 (swine flu) virus.

School superintendent Rusty Fairheart said the school system and health department are currently collaborating on efforts “to combine resources in order to provide H1N1 vaccinations to the students of Middlesex County once they (vaccines) become available.”

Fairheart made it clear that “parent consent” would be obtained before a student receives a flu shot.

He also indicated the reason for the in-school vaccination program is to decrease school absences and school-based flu outbreaks that might promote the further spread of influenza in the community.

The influenza vaccine can be administered as an injectable vaccine, or in a nasal spray, Fairheart indicated.

Students without insurance or who are eligible for Virginia’s “Vaccines for Children” program will receive free vaccines. The health department will accept payments from insurance companies or other payers with which the Virginia Department of Health has a billing arrangement, including Medicaid, Medicare, Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and FAMIS.

The health department will forgive any balance the health insurance companies do not pay.

In other business, Lewis C. Briggs of Locust Hill thanked the board for its cooperation in attempting to get additional “Bus Stop Ahead” signs on Healy’s Road and Philpot Road, and for changing school bus routes on the roads. Briggs indicated the school administration’s efforts took longer than he expected, but he appreciated the outcome.

Purnell Wood of Urbanna then clarified the sequence of events that led to the school requests for the additional signs. He contended school officials entered a “letter of support” for the new school bus signs to VDOT when they should have entered a “letter of request” for the signs. This, he said, caused a delay in VDOT processing the sign request.

Wood credited supervisor Robert Crump with helping to get the situation resolved.

Briggs and Wood are spearheading efforts to make Healy’s Road and Philpot Road safer for school children, pedestrians and motorists. In addition to the new “Bus Stop Ahead” signs, they want VDOT to put lane markings and speed limit and warning signs on the roads. They also want narrow Healy’s Road to be a part of the county’s secondary road improvement plan.

posted 10.14.2009

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