Swine Flu shots underway in south Mississippi schools

By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

ST. MARTIN, MS (WLOX) – With consent forms in hand, students at St. Martin East Elementary School began lining up Tuesday morning to get their Swine Flu shots.

One second grader said she wasn't nervous as all.

"I've never had a flu shot," she said.

Her friend wasn't worried one bit.

"I feel good," she said.

Nerves are normal, when it involves needles.

"I'm scared," said one young man as his name was called.

"It's a real skinny needle, okay?" the nurse told him.

With a few reassuring words and a comforting hand to hold, suddenly it was over.

"It won't hurt. Just a little pinch," a nurse told the children.

Of the 645 students at St. Martin East, 230 have signed consent forms to get the H1N1 vaccinations. Nurses with Singing River Health System and student nurses from USM are administering the shots.  The nurses reported just a few tears, but no medical complications.

"The little bitty ones cried, but these kids, they're wonderful," said registered nurse Judee Stanford.  "One teacher even had them coming in and singing 'Hit me with your best shot'.  They were ready."

"It felt like a shot," one boy told a girl sitting next to him.

"I didn't even feel a thing," said another boy.

"It just has a little pinch.  It doesn't even hurt," said first grader Joie Derouen.

The shots were just the first round for the students.  Children under the age of ten are required to get two H1N1 vaccinations.  That means in mid-December, the nurses will be back to give the second round of shots.

"H1N1 is a big hot topic right now, and we're just glad to be able to partner with the Health Department and go out and provide the service," said Timothy Neese, the Community Health Educator for Singing River Health System.

The vaccination program in Jackson County schools will end on December 16th, while the Biloxi School District's program wraps up this week. The Pascagoula School District will begin its Swine Flu inoculations on Thursday.

Other school districts across the Mississippi Gulf Coast are still waiting to send out information kits and consent forms before the free vaccinations begin.  The Ocean Springs School District does not plan to offer the vaccine to its students.

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