H1N1 Virus concerns in young population

By Tiffany Blackmon - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC)-  The number of children deaths related to the H1N1 Virus in the United States now stands at 114. Currently there is a limited supply of the vaccine, but officials hope that soon will change.

Dr. B.J. Foch, an Administrative Medical Director of the Department of Health and Hospitals Region 5 stated, "I think the overall H1N1 vaccination activity is going to pick up in the next few weeks so people should be able to easily find the vaccine."

The people Dr. Foch is referring to, are those included in the target populations, like students.

The death of 14 year old Jonathan Fontenot has raised concerns about vaccinating school students, and in regards to that, Ron Hayes with Risk Management of the Calcasieu Parish School Board issued this statement.

"The Calcasieu Parish School Board was approached to participate in a program sponsored by the Department of Health and Hospitals through the Department of Education to administer H1N1 vaccines when they become available.

The Superintendent responded that the school system was unable to administer the vaccine due to man power assistance, but if local officials of the office of Public Health were able to administer vaccinations, the Calcasieu Parish School Board would look to cooperate in the use of facilities subject to approval of the school board."

McNeese State University is also taking strides to ensure the health of their students by making the vaccine available to students involved in healthcare, living in resident halls, and student athletes.

Toby Osburn, McNeese State University Dean of Students stated, "They're a high risk group. This is not a disease or a virus that tends to affect the elderly, who are sick. This is a young person's disease.

When Katherine Cole heard that she could get the vaccine, she knew she it was something she had to do.

"I can be protected, and not be a threat to my family or friends," she said.

The University and local officials hope to soon provide the vaccine to more than just targeted groups.

Dr. Foch also stresses that if the vaccine is available to you, you should talk to your health care provider about receiving it.

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