News Release

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
Visit us at www.nwhealth.org


Health Department, schools working together to prevent H1N1 outbreaks

School-based clinics for middle and high school aged students will be held during the school day. Community clinics, set for late afternoon and early evening, are planned so parents of younger children can accompany them to the flu shot clinic. They will be held in most towns in Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. Private school, charter school, and home school students may receive their H1N1 flu shot at a community clinic.

H1N1 vaccinations are completely voluntary. Public health nurses will not vaccinate anyone without consent. No child at a school-based flu shot clinic will be vaccinated without a signed Parent/Guardian Consent Form returned to the school office by the day before a scheduled clinic.

There is no cost for H1N1 vaccinations through the Health Department. Some private doctors' offices have ordered H1N1 vaccine for their patients and may be charging a fee to give the shots.

"We're preparing packets now for parents and guardians--elementary students will bring them home in weekly folders and, to make sure parents or guardians receive it, we're mailing packets home to middle and high school students," Fralick said. These parent/guardian packets include a letter describing the local H1N1 initiative, times, dates, and locations of flu shot clinics in their neighborhood, a fact sheet about the H1N1 vaccine, and the Parent/Guardian Consent Form.

Vaccination is the best protection against the H1N1 flu and seasonal flu viruses, according to Joshua Meyerson, MD, Medical Director for the Health Department. "With two or more influenza viruses circulating, any parent who wants their child to avoid four to seven days of fever, sore throat and body aches should get them vaccinated," he said. "And H1N1 can be a serious illness, even in healthy children and adults."

H1N1 is extremely contagious, Meyerson explained. "Because H1N1 is a new virus, no one has immunity from it. It can cause very serious illness, although most healthy people who contract H1N1 recover without medical treatment," he added According to the U.S. Centers for Control (CDC) & Prevention, the groups of people who are most likely to develop complications from the flu are:

These groups of people are first in line for the H1N1 vaccine. A vaccine shortage is not expected and as soon as these "vaccine priority groups" have had an opportunity to get their H1N1 shot, healthy adults up to age 64 and adults age 65 and up will have the chance to get their vaccination.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For the most current information about H1N1 flu or flu shot clinics, visit www.nwhealth.org.


All schools within Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District are working with the Health Department of Northwest Michigan on school- or community-based clinics for the H1N1 vaccination. Pictured receiving their packets to help communicate with parents and staff about flu prevention are (from left) Bob Alger, Boyne City Public Schools Superintendent; Jeff Liedel, Alanson Public Schools Superintendent; Pat Fralick, Director of Family & Community Health Services for the Health Department; and Dr. Josh Meyerson, Health Department Medical Director.
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