Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Home schoolers also need H1N1 vaccine

Letter to the editor written by a Staunton home school mom....

Dear Editor:

I have three children - two home schooled and one in private school. We live in Staunton. One of my home schoolers is a type 1 diabetic. Because of his compromised immune system he cannot have the H1N1 mist (which is live virus). Instead he needs the syringe version which is killed virus. I got the mist for my other two children at my pediatrician's office and since they did not have the syringe version my doctor suggested I call the Staunton-Augusta Health Department to get it for my diabetic son.

After initially being told we had to go through the public school system and being refused by the school system because my child is not enrolled in public school, I was very concerned about where to find the vaccine.

I called the Health Department again and spoke with one of their nurses... she asked me who had told me I had to go through the school system and said my son should get his vaccine at the health department - which we did that afternoon. I was told that he received one of the last five syringes they had.

I was upset about the whole experience but thought it was more of a person-to-person misunderstanding than a state-wide problem. Today when I got a message from HSLDA I realized the issue is bigger than that.

While I'm grateful that our situation was resolved in a positive way, I'm deeply troubled by the idea that the health department/school system or anyone else in authority in Virginia would take it upon themselves to decide that some Virginia children are not eligable for state-wide health care services.

I'm copying this message to my local home school support networks, my pediatrician's office, my school board, the health department, and my local newspaper.

Heather Farrell Bernard
Staunton, VA

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