LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The first doses of the H1N1 flu vaccine have made their way to Lubbock. The health department does not have any doses yet, but some local private healthcare providers do. The vaccines currently available are mostly the nasal spray.
Both Lubbock and Lubbock-Cooper school districts say they've seen absences jump from 3-4 percent of students out this time last year to 7 percent this year.
"We're hoping to get as many children immunized as possible, and that will help them from getting sick and keep them in school," said Nancy Sharp with L.I.S.D.
As the H1N1 vaccine makes its way to Lubbock, local school districts are making plans for flu clinics. L.I.S.D, with the help of the city health department, will hold three evening and one Saturday clinic to distribute the H1N1 shot free of charge to L.I.S.D. students.
Frenship I.S.D. will also hold free clinics, but have not determined times yet.
Lubbock-Cooper I.S.D. opted to hold their free clinics during the school day. "We don't have a problem taking time out of instruction to do that because we think it's that important. We have so many kids sick already with the flu, and we haven't really hit the peak of flu season," said Superintendent Pat Henderson.
Schools hope to have enough doses to vaccinate every student who wishes to receive the shot, but they may not be able to. "Texas's allotment has been reduced, so we may not have enough for every student," said Sharp.
Schools have not determined how they will distribute the vaccines if there aren't enough doses, but say they will ask the health department for guidance if they can't provide the vaccine for every student.
Schools have not set the dates for the clinics yet because it depends on vaccine availability, but will probably hold them in mid-November.
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News from around the area and state on the swine flu virus sweeping the nation.