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Back to School Vaccines Critical for Swine Flu Control

  • August 27, 2009

School is just around the corner for children throughout the country and with that comes the need to ensure children are fully vaccinated. This year brings an added health concern: protecting children from the H1N1 influenza virus commonly known as swine flu. To help provide children with immunizations against childhood and other infectious diseases, AmeriCares donated a mobile medical unit to the Children’s Hospital of New Orleans. The mobile medical unit helps to enable a free vaccine program throughout New Orleans in collaboration with local hospitals and community groups.

As new vaccination requirements come into effect for the 2009 school year, check with a pediatrician to ensure your child’s vaccinations are up-to-date and complete. Students, teachers, and staff of grades K-12 especially should receive the swine flu vaccination.

“A fully immunized child is better protected against the flu and its serious consequences, such as pneumonia” said Dr. Frank Bia, Medical Director at AmeriCares and an expert in infectious diseases.  “As we approach the back-to-school and flu seasons, it is critical to ensure children and adults remain healthy and fully immunized so they can fight off swine flu and other illnesses.” Part of this preventive strategy involves complete childhood vaccinations and education about how the flu is spread, its symptoms and what can be done to stop it. Read What You Need to Know About Swine Flu, Q & A with Dr. Frank J. Bia to learn more.

In the past, Louisiana has had one of the lowest immunization rates in the United States, particularly among toddlers. Since AmeriCare’s donation, the mobile medical unit has been busy vaccinating children from birth to age 18 in record numbers. During one recent session, vaccinations were administered to 195 patients. Weekly totals of vaccinations are as high as 750, a number that exceeds what the Children’s Hospital of New Orleans used to average in an entire month.

AmeriCares has supported the Children’s Hospital in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. The donation of the mobile medical unit is part of AmeriCares continued commitment to restoring health and improving access to medicines both domestically and internationally.   

Help AmeriCares restore health here at home and around the world »