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Planning for flu ... and rumors

Legislation would limit state's powers

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks as Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group Director Dr. Gregory A. Poland, left, American Academy of Pediatrics Director Dr. David T. Tayloe, and National Foundation for Infectious Diseases President-Elect, Dr. William Schaffner, right, look on during a briefing about the upcoming seasonal flu season last week in Washington, D.C. Associated Press. (click for larger version)
September 14, 2009
SOUTHBRIDGE — As the school year gets into full swing, schools and health officials are working out plans to deal with the predicted co-occurrence of swine (H1N1) and seasonal flu. At they same time, they're trying to deal with rumors the flu season will include mandatory vaccination and other authoritarian measures.

According to Health Director James Morin, Southbridge is planning to offer vaccinations to those who want them at two local schools on one or more Saturdays after the vaccine becomes available. One school, he said, will be the high school; the other is still being determined in part based on parking.

"The school department is really working to help the local board of health," Morin said. "That's a hard thing to pull off. Some schools do anything they can to keep health departments out."

He noted the federal government is paying for such inoculations, at an estimated cost of $40 a shot, and the department will give recipients receipts to prove they've received it.

See Wednesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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