Flu update: Mollen covers area public schools - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Localnews

Flu update: Mollen covers area public schools

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Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2009 12:00 am

H1N1 vaccinations have made their way into public elementary and middle schools via the Mollen Immunization Clinics, but most students living in Ahwatukee Foothills who attend charter schools will have to rely on their family physicians for the H1N1 immunizations.

Horizon Community Learning Center has scheduled a Mollen Immunization Clinic for its students and staff on Dec. 8, but other charter schools in the area have opted to have parents take their children to get immunized by their family physicians.

“We’ve consulted our liaison at the Arizona Department of Health Services who helps us monitor our absences, and we have decided not to offer an immunization clinic,” said Pat O’Brien, principal of the Summit School of Ahwatukee. “We did refer our parents to the Mollen Immunization Clinics and their availability, and I haven’t heard any parents say that they weren’t able to get the vaccinations through their family physicians.”

Like other schools, the Summit School of Ahwatukee is also encouraging flu preventative measures among its students.

“We’re doing a lot of emphasis of flu prevention practices within the school and advising our parents to consult with their family physicians,” O’Brien said.

If any charter schools have a change of heart and decide to hold an immunization clinic, Mollen is prepared to schedule clinics, no matter how small the school.

“Our clinics are not restricted to public or private schools, and all school-aged children are eligible,” said John Roehm, chief executive officer of Mollen Immunization Clinics. “We have reached out to the public charter schools and we are scheduling clinics at the schools that have contacted us.”

Thus far, Mollen has held immunization clinics at about 1,110 schools in Maricopa County. Mollen has scheduled its first few clinics at high schools in coming weeks, and hopes to be distributing the vaccines to the general public soon.

“We have been allocated the vaccines only for schools right now, but once these population groups have been serviced and the state and county allow us to go into the communities we will do that,” Roehm said. “As soon as we have that ability we will be at the same places we provide normal seasonal flu vaccines each year.”

According to Dr. Mark Tosca of Kachina Family Practice in Ahwatukee Foothills, the amount of H1N1 vaccinations available in his practice is increasing.

“We don’t have enough to vaccinate everyone in our target group right now, but we are getting more,” Tosca said. “It would certainly be a lot easier for children to get vaccinated at their schools if at all possible.”

To participate in a Mollen Immunization Clinic, students must be enrolled at the school that is holding the clinic. For more information about clinic dates and locations, visit www.flushotusa.com.

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