Bangor Daily News
Friday, Sept 4, 2009
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. John Baldacci on Tuesday declared a statewide civil emergency because of the H1N1 influenza virus, paving the way for mass immunization of Maine schoolchildren and other residents.
The emergency designation protects schools and health care providers against liability claims related to their participation in school-based vaccine clinics this fall for both the seasonal flu and the H1N1 flu. “Maine has been proactive in its response to this new flu,” Baldacci said in announcing the proclamation. “But as the school year begins, we must continue our vigilance, which will require a responsible and aggressive vaccination and public education campaign. It’s our goal that every person in the state has access to vaccines for the seasonal and H1N1 flu.”
In accordance with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, officials in Maine are encouraging public schools to offer on-site immunization clinics for all children, including infants over 6 months and preschoolers as well as children who are home-schooled. Participating schools will offer the seasonal influenza vaccine as soon as possible, and many also will offer the new H1N1 vaccine when it becomes available.
A list of participating schools is not yet available. Dr. Dora Anne Mills, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday that many schools will partner with area health care providers such as hospitals, visiting nursing organizations, and health clinics for the actual administration of the injectable vaccines. But those providers may not have enough clinical staff to devote to giving the vaccines and will be looking to recruit recently retired nurses and other clinicians who are not their regular employees.
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This article was posted: Friday, September 4, 2009 at 4:33 am