June 29, 2010 By Hilton Collins
When worries about H1N1 flu spread across the U.S. in 2009, New York City's public school system was of particular concern. Thousands of students were afflicted with suspected H1N1 cases, which caused alarm among health officials who thought the virus could spread and set off a citywide epidemic.
So in October that year, the New York City Health and Education departments joined forces, announcing the launch of a weeklong vaccination program at city schools, an effort followed by a broader, school-based H1N1 vaccination program.
Because the emergency vaccination program was mandated, local health personnel were required to volunteer extra hours to meet the demands - and the Education Department expanded its work force management software to correctly handle timekeeping for these employees.
The Education Department set up weekend vaccination clinics so the New York City Health and Mental Hygiene Department could administer vaccines to the city's 1.1 million students within a multiweek window in November and December 2009.
"The New York City Health Department needed to dispense this vaccine throughout the city and into the school population, which is more than 1,500 sites," said Elizabeth Knipfing, deputy executive director of the Education Department's Division of Financial Systems and Business Operations.
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