Students at 125 elementary schools got the swine flu vaccine yesterday in the first phase of the city’s drive to make inoculation available to all school-age children.
School nurses administered the vaccine to students whose parents have signed consent forms. Officials do not yet know what percentage of parents citywide have signed the forms, but said it varied from school to school.
Some children were getting shots instead of the nasal spray, depending on their medical conditions.
The city’s health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, said there were 40,000 doses set aside for the first wave of schools.
As of last week, the city had received about 300,000 doses of vaccine and was distributing them to doctors, hospitals, clinics and schools, Farley said. By the end of this week, the city expects to have received 800,000 doses, below the 1.2 million it initially thought it would get.
“We do think ultimately we’ll have ample vaccine for everybody for whom it’s recommended,” Farley said at P.S. 157 in Brooklyn where elementary school children were getting shots.
“The vaccine is safe, the virus is here, the virus can be serious, so people should receive the vaccine,” he added.<p>
Fourth-graders Felix Garcia and Jessica Osorio, both 9, rolled up their sleeves and smiled bravely for the media on Wednesday.
“t kind of hurt a little,” Jessica said afterward. “I was a little nervous but then I got used it.”
P.S. 157’s principal, Maribel Torres, said about 30 percent of the schoolchildren’s parents had signed consent forms and that more forms were coming in. Some parents were having their children vaccinated by private doctors, she said, adding that she hadn’t heard of many parents not wanting their children to get the flu shot.<p>
The first phase of the school flu vaccine program involves elementary schools with less than 400 students. The second phase will start Nov. 4 at elementary schools with more than 600 students. Phase 3, on Nov. 9, will cover all remaining elementary schools. Private elementary schools will have the option of participating.<p>
Students attending public middle and high schools will be offered flu shots during weekends in November and December
New York Hospital Queens planned to administer swine flu vaccine on a first-come, first-served basis Wednesday afternoon at a community center in the Fresh Meadows neighborhood.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the swine flu virus, first identified in April, has killed at least 1,000 Americans and caused at least mild illness in many millions of others.
President Barack Obama has declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency.