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As a result of production delays of the FluMist nasal spray flu vaccine, Carroll County Public Schools has postponed or canceled some scheduled in-school clinics and rescheduled others.

In-school vaccination clinics that had been scheduled for middle schools have been temporarily canceled, according to Filipa Gomes, director of health services for Carroll County Public Schools, while clinics at Carroll County elementary schools have been scheduled for dates in November, a month later than anticipated.

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"We would have started in October, but with the vaccine production delays, we just decided to do the elementary schools in November," Gomes said. "Middle schools, they don't have the vaccines on hand right now so we canceled those, and when … the health department, they receive vaccines, the plan is we will consider having some walk in clinics."

The exact dates and locations of possible middle school clinics will depend on when more FluMist vaccine becomes available, according to Gomes; the clinics will not be held in the schools.

Parents of elementary school students should have received consent forms for the vaccination clinics, which begin on Nov. 9, according to Gomes. Students younger than 2 or who have chronic health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes or seizure disorders, are not eligible to receive the FluMist vaccine.

Manufacturing delays on the part of the Gaithersburg firm MedImmune, which produces the FluMist vaccine, also have affected school vaccination efforts in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Howard counties, as well as Baltimore City, as reported by the Baltimore Sun.Harford and Anne Arundel counties have canceled their in-school clinics outright.

In Carroll County, the reasoning behind the decision to use what FluMist vaccine is available for the elementary school population is two-fold, according to Dr. Henry Taylor, deputy health officer at the Carroll County Health Department.

"We feel the public is best protected by getting the first vaccines out to children who are ages 2 through the fifth grade," Taylor said. "Not only is that age group vulnerable, targeting that group with vaccine is the best way to interrupt the spread of flu — with older children and adults, it's easier to teach and enforce good hand washing."

At the same time, Taylor said, it is hoped that enough FluMist vaccine will be available later in the flu season to allow for full vaccination of middle schoolers who have not been vaccinated yet and for whom it is appropriate.

"Because it is a [vaccine] delay and not a shortage, [the health department] is working with schools and other partners to monitor when the flu actually comes to Carroll County," he said. "That allows targeting available supplies to other priority groups, such as middle schoolers … the elderly and those people with clinical conditions that place them at risk."

Carroll County Public School does not hold vaccination clinics for high school students, according to Gomes, and so high schoolers are encouraged to obtain a flu shot through their regular health care providers. For that matter, she said, there's no reason for families with middle school students to wait for vaccination clinics that are yet to be scheduled.

"We are encouraging them to go to their private physician or to use the local pharmacies for the shot because there is no production delay of the injection, it's just the FluMist," Gomes said.

Taylor had similar advice for adults and high school aged teens who are considering getting a flu vaccination. Given the production delays in the FluMist and an increased number of private providers in the community, he said, the health department does not plan to hold a flu clinic for adults this year.

"Carroll County is fortunate to have a strong network of private providers, including, urgent care clinics, physicians and pharmacies," Taylor said. "People who have a regular health care provider are encouraged to obtain their flu vaccine through their regular provider; FluMist if it's available, or injectable as appropriate for that person."

More information on the types of flu shots available in the community, and clinics held at locations outside of schools, such as the Carroll County Senior and Community Centers, can be found on the health department website at

FluMist Clinic dates at Carroll County Public Schools

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Monday, Nov. 9: Freedom, Ebb Valley, Manchester and William Winchester elementary schools

Tuesday, Nov. 10: Linton Springs, Winfield, Westminster and Cranberry Station elementary schools

Wednesday, Nov. 11: Piney Ridge, Carrolltowne, Taneytown and Runnymede elementary schools

Thursday, Nov. 12: Parr's Ridge, Mount Airy, Elmer Wolfe and Charles Carroll elementary schools

Monday, Nov. 12: Eldersburg, Friendship Valley, Hampstead and Spring Garden elementary schools

Tuesday, Nov. 17: Mechanicsville, Robert Moton and Sandymount elementary schools.

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