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Nurses Ready to Give Shots

Nurses Ready to Give Shots

The Daily Southerner

August 20, 2009

Edgecombe County Health Department Director Karen Lachapelle updated her Board of Directors Tuesday on the county’s H1N1 (swine) flu plans for this fall at the board’s meeting in Tarboro.

The health director said that so far, nurse practitioners in the county have given their support to volunteer with vaccinations as they’re needed.

Out of 47 nurses approached by the health department to volunteer, Lachapelle said only one had not consented to help for the upcoming flu season.

The health department’s Health Education Supervisor Michelle Etheridge said that an exercise addressing H1N1 flu, vaccinations will be done at Heritage Hospital in Tarboro on Sept. 3. In case of a pandemic, or for those who want it, the health department will shoulder much of the responsibility for vaccinating Edgecombe residents.

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“We’re possibly looking to vaccinate any citizen in Edgecombe County” against the H1N1 flu who wants to have it, Lachapelle said.

The one shortfall for the health department meeting the possible demand, she said, is the lack of administrative staffing in her department to handle large amounts of people all at once.

She also told the board she had discussed H1N1 flu preparation in schools with Edgecombe County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon and his staff. Their efforts now are in getting information and training to teachers, and information to parents, on how to handle a child who becomes stricken with the flu.

Lachapelle added that much of the information dispersal is about telling people to wash their hands and to sneeze inside their elbow, to limit their exposure and ability to spread the flu.

She also said she had talked with the school officials about how they would handle sending children home, or putting children in isolation within the schools if necessary.

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