State Capitol News
11:49 am
Fri September 18, 2009

State plans for swine flu vaccine

Phoenix, AZ – State health officials want mass immunization of children in
schools for the novel H1N1 flu. But there are no plans to force the vaccine on
anyone.

State health director Will Humble said the goal is to get about
80 percent of youngsters inoculated. He said that creates a herd
effect: The more people who have immunity from what has become
known as the swine flu, the less chance that those who haven't
gotten the shot will be exposed. He said providing free vaccines
at schools is the best way to reach that goal.

But that raised concerens by some lawmakers that the inoculations will become
mandatory. Humble, though, said "I have absolutely no intention of making this vaccine mandatory in any way, shape or form, whether it's for school entry or
otherwise."

Rep. Phil Lopes said that 80 percent goal may be difficult to
achieve as some members of the public are, in his words, scared
as hell about the vaccine.

But Maricopa County Health Director
Bob England said a lot of the public response is going to be
based on what people hear and see in the media.

"If the news is talking about extremely rare side effects that
happened 33 years ago with one of the flu vaccines, then people
will continue to be scared. If, in the media, there are stories
about the children who are dying from this, then it'll flip the
exact opposite way and people will demand vaccines."

The first doses should become available next month.