WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - Several programs have joined efforts to vaccinate children enrolled in Head Start for H1N1 influenza prior to the holiday school break. The programs are the Navajo Head Start, Navajo Division of Health, Navajo Bio-Terrorism Preparedness Program, New Mexico Department of Health, Community Health Representatives and Navajo Health Education and Service Units with Navajo Area Indian Health Service.
An H1N1 influenza vaccination schedule has been developed for New Mexico Head Start programs. The Arizona and the Utah Head Start programs will be included as soon as vaccinations are done on the New Mexico side. Second doses of the H1N1 vaccine will follow the first H1N1 vaccinations at all of the Head Start Schools beginning in January 2010.
The first Head Start vaccination was conducted in the Crownpoint Service Unit on Dec. 10 and 14. This included seven Bureau of Indian Education Schools with 1,800 students and staff and nine Head Start schools with 220 students and staff. Schools involved were Crownpoint I, II, and III; Dalton Pass; Standing Rock; and Pueblo Pintado.
On Dec. 17, H1N1 vaccinations were conducted at Becenti, Smith Lake and Thoreau Head Start sites.
While the vaccination schedules are definite and will continue, reports from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warn that several H1N1 vaccines given to children ages 6 months to 3 years of age have been recalled. The recalled vaccine is the Sanofi Pasteur H1N1 Pediatric Vaccine in Pre-Filled Syringes (0.25 mL). Health officials have reassured the public that the recalled vaccines are safe and effective against the H1N1 Influenza. The recalled vaccines are less potent and re-vaccinations are not necessary.
In the meantime, parents of children 9-years-old and younger who have already received the first H1N1 shot three to four weeks ago are reminded to follow through with a second vaccination for their child.
The Fort Defiance Service Unit Public Health Nursing Department is working with all schools within the FDSU giving H1N1 vaccinations. Public, private and BIA school, along with all Head Start and day care centers are included.
Remember to practice flu prevention daily. Wash hands often or use hand sanitizers. Cover sneezes and coughs. If there is no tissue, cough into your upper arm. Stay home when sick and do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Drink plenty of fluids and get your seasonal flu shot plus the H1N1 Influenza vaccination.
For more information on flu prevention call (928) 871-6258 or visit
www.h1n1.navajo.org. If you need information on the Head Start H1N1 influenza vaccinations call the Health/Nutrition Coordinator, Edwina Kee, at (928) 871-7477.
The Fort Defiance Indian Health Service Hotline is (928) 729-8481 or (928) 729-8470/8471.