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Second H1N1 event Tuesday at Central
Shots free for students, staff
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Forsyth County News

• For pre-vaccination information, directions and required paperwork, go online at

• For questions, contact the Forsyth County Health Department at (770) 781-6900.

Not every long line this season is filled with holiday shoppers. At North Forsyth High School, families gathered Wednesday for a free H1N1, or swine flu, vaccination.

More than 320 shots were given to children ages 3 to 18 years old during the event, the first of two offered by the county’s health department and school system.

School district spokeswoman Jennifer Caracciolo said everyone in line was vaccinated within the first hour, leaving a steady flow for the remainder of the event.

With such a high turnout, officials are excited about the second offering Tuesday. Set for 4 to 7 p.m. at Forsyth Central High's west campus, the free event has been expanded to include school district staff and their spouses.

“We are expecting an even larger crowd this upcoming week,” Caracciolo said.

Nancy Rithmire, the school system's head nurse, said she was worried the first crowd would be overwhelming, but “the process went so well.”

“We had about 10 stations operating for administration of the shot,” she said. “The team effort was great.”

Vaccinations will be given Tuesday on a first-come, first-serve basis, Rithmire said. She warned that children who are very ill or have Gentamycin allergies shouldn't be vaccinated.

Caracciolo said the vaccinations are being given before winter break because the “health department wanted to try to get as many individuals vaccinated before they traveled to different locations during the holidays.”

While there have been some reports of seasonal flu nationwide, the majority of recent flu cases have been the H1N1 strain, a form of Type A influenza.

As of Dec. 8, there had been 683 hospitalizations for H1N1 and 39 deaths in Georgia, according to state statistics.

Given the health department's limited supply, however, officials ask that only those considered a high-risk priority get the vaccination.

The priority list, determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, includes pregnant women, 6-month-olds to 24-year-olds and caregivers or people who live with babies 6 months old or younger.

The list also includes health care and emergency patient care workers and 25-to 64-year-olds with chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, respiratory conditions, heart disease and immunosuppressive disorders.

Adults who are considered high risk can stop by the health department during normal business hours to get a shot.