VaHomeschoolers Legislative Report – November 2, 2009

H1N1 Vaccination Options for Homeschooled Children

Note: The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers takes no position on vaccination or immunization issues. The following is provided for informational purposes only, so parents can make appropriate decisions for their children as needed.

Last Wednesday, The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers participated in a conference call with Dr. Karen Remley, the Commissioner for the Virginia Department of Health, and much of her staff. The purpose of the call was the dissemination of information regarding vaccine availability for nonpublic school children. The Virginia Department of Health provided the following information to assure that homeschoolers know where they can receive vaccinations should they choose to do so.

The following are suggested ways for school-age children to have an opportunity to be vaccinated. Obviously, all of these strategies are dependent upon vaccine availability. Currently there are limited supplies of vaccine within the state, but the Virginia Department of Health anticipates increased amounts over the next few weeks. The limited supply impacts availability.

Potential Sources of H1N1 Vaccine

Child’s Doctor

Children, especially children with underlying medical conditions (ex. asthma, diabetes, immunocompromised conditions, neurocognitive or neurodevelopment conditions such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy), can check with their family doctors to see if they are offering H1N1 vaccinations and if they have vaccine available.

Families can find a listing of registered H1N1 vaccinators, including private doctors and medical offices, at the VDH website www.vdh.virginia.gov or H1N1get1.com to determine if their doctor is planning on providing H1N1 vaccine.

Some vaccine has gone out to all physician vaccinators registered with VDH, including pediatricians and family practitioners, and will continue to go out over the coming weeks.

Local Health Department

Local health departments provide H1N1 in a variety of venues. Every health department will be holding at least one weekly vaccination opportunity open to all school-age children.

Call your local health department and explain you would like to know what vaccination opportunities (such as mass or clinics) are upcoming. Some health districts maintain lists of those needing vaccination. Public health staff will call back when the vaccine is available.

Another option is to ask for help in arranging a group vaccination opportunity either at the health department or another community site. Such opportunities are dependent on vaccine availability and local resources and cannot be guaranteed. (Please contact Parrish Mort for additional information on this option.)

All H1N1 vaccinations obtained through the health department are free. Locate your local health district and contact information here.

Create Your Own Vaccination Opportunities

Any licensed physician in Virginia can register to become an H1N1 vaccinator and receive H1N1 vaccine as it becomes available after appropriate agreements are signed. Homeschool groups may work with a local physician to set up a vaccination site, using paid or volunteer nurses and/or physicians to provide the vaccine. The vaccine and ancillary supplies (needles, syringes, medical waste disposal materials) are provided at no charge. The vaccine administrator may charge only an administration fee (set by federal standards) or may choose to provide the vaccinations at no cost. More information can be found here.

VDH Website

You can access information about vaccine location sites on the Virginia Department of Health website or enter through H1N1 Vaccination: It’s Up to You to Fight the Flu. This information is regularly updated and is being expanded to include more interactive opportunities.

Whether you choose vaccination for your children or not, VaHomeschoolers wants to provide you with information about your options.

The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers is a non-profit public charity with 501(c)(3) status; your donation is tax-deductible to the extent provided by law. A financial statement is available from the Virginia Division of Consumer Affairs upon request.

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