April 30, 2009
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska health officials and the Anchorage School District teamed up Wednesday to prepare for a worst case scenario by practicing a mass dispensing of vaccines.
The exercise comes as the World Health Organization raised its pandemic alert, which means it believes a global outbreak of the swine flu is imminent.
No cases of swine flu have been reported in Alaska. Still, health officials say it is possible swine flu will reach our state, and they want to be ready in case it does.
Over the past two weeks, 11 schools have participated in an exercise to distribute the chicken pox vaccine to students.
This is also a chance to practice dispensing medication in the event of a large scale emergency, according to the Department of Health and Social Services and the school district.
Two Anchorage schools on Wednesday had a special delivery from the health department.
The schools received hundreds of doses of the varicella vaccine, which is used to prevent chicken pox.
The state requires all elementary students receive two shots of the vaccine by next year.
"Part of it is getting a jump on that cause," said Mark Mew, the school district’s director of security and emergency preparedness. "There is obviously going to be a rush at the doctor’s office and the Health Department."