Swine flu shots to be given to Picayune school district children

Published 2:27 pm Friday, December 11, 2009

Dr. James M. Riser said that Picayune school children will be given H1N1 swine flu shots on Saturday at the Picayune high school gym from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

He said all grades kindergarten through 12 will be served. He said students under 9 years old should get a second shot in four weeks.

Riser Medical Associates in conjunction with Highland Community Hospital will be giving the shots in cooperation with the Picayune school system. “It’s a joint effort,” said Dr. Riser.

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There is no charge for the shots, all of which will be by injection.

Dr. Riser said that there is a tendency “to become complacent” now, but he urged parents to have their children vaccinated because the 2009-10 swine flu season is just getting underway and incidences of the flu could increase.

He said parents who already have signed releases authorizing their children to be vaccinated should bring the releases with them, but added that releases will be available at the vaccination site.

He also said that the H1N1 vaccine is safe. “It is manufactured by the same people and the same way that the regular flu season vaccine is manufactured. It is safe, and we have so far had no complications resulting from its use,” said Riser.

Riser said that the shots are also available at his medical clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m. for students who miss Saturday’s vaccination and for the general public.

Dr. Riser and his associates have already conducted vaccination clinics at Pearl River Central schools in Carriere and Poplarville schools.

A spokesperson with the Mississippi Health Dept. said the department and private healthcare providers have been working to provide school children with free vaccinations for the H1N1 swine flu through an adoption program.

Currently, 443 schools have been adopted by the MHD and 611 by private healthcare providers such as Riser’s clinic.

MHD and private providers are trying to reach a half-million school-aged children throughout the state with the vaccine.

Schools are using the injectable form of the vaccine.

So far, 807,000 doses of swine flu vaccine have been delivered to county health departments, Mississippi schools and private healthcare providers.

Of those, 620,000 are of the injectable form.

State health department officials said that swine flu antiviral medications are available free of charge for uninsured and underinsured Mississippians who have been diagnosed with swine flu.

These antivirals will be available only through a prescription from a medical doctor, the spokesperson said.

The state health department has entered into agreements with selected pharmacies throughout the state to help distribute Tamiflu and Relenza from state and federal stockpiles to patients who cannot otherwise afford them.

In order to receive these free medications, the patient must bring a prescription for the medication and a signed document from their healthcare provider indicating to which high risk group the patient belongs. The healthcare provider will refer patients who qualify to participating pharmacies.

For additional information call 1-877-229-9flu.