MADISON (WKOW) -- As the H1N1 virus continues its spread across the nation, state health departments are trying to plan for what they expect will be a mad rush of patients who want to get the H1N1 vaccine. Health officials expect doses of the vaccine to be shipped out to clinics nationwide by mid-October.
Dane County officials say their plan of attack is to vaccinate people where the virus thrives best: in the schools.
The county will hold vaccination clinics in every one of its schools, both public and private. That's more than 160 schools, and up to 80,000 students. It's a planning nightmare, and county health officials are still trying to sort out the details.
The county says it wants to make it as easy as possible for all students to get vaccinated.
"As long as the signed consent is present with the child, we will be able to give the shot and then notify the parent that it was given," said Dr. Thomas Schlenker, Dir. of Public Health for Madison and Dane County.
The school vaccinations will only be for students, but a home-schooled child or anyone else with a high risk of catching the virus can get his or her shot somewhere else.
"We will be having one or more mass clinics that will be open to everybody who falls through the cracks," said Schlenker.
The state health department still does not know when the vaccine will arrive in Dane County, or how many doses Wisconsin will get. But the state can begin ordering the vaccine Sept. 30, and officials say Wisconsin is prepared.
"There may be glitches in the road, but I think overall we're pretty confident that we have a good system in place," said Dan Hopfensperger of the State Immunization Program.
Dr. Schlenker says if you are over the age of 24 and a healthy adult, you do not need to get this vaccine. Right now, the priority is to target school-aged children first.
Schlenker says his department is working hard to come up with a schedule for the school clinics before Oct. 1. Information will be posted on the public health department's website as it becomes available.