Friday, September 25, 2009

Flu Vaccination Program Offered at Seven Fayette County Elementary Schools

The Flu-Free Schools program is coming to the Fayette County Public School System October 19-22.

The program is a pilot that is being sponsored by District 4 Public Health with Academic Clinics and the Georgia Department of Community Health to offer the seasonal flu vaccine, using FluMist (no needles), on-site at seven of the school system’s elementary schools. FluMist is gently sprayed in the nose, where the flu enters the body; it is designed to stimulate the body’s natural defenses without causing disease.

A total of 13 school systems are participating in the program. Due to the large participation, the number of elementary school sites in each county is limited.

Last week informational packets were sent home with students from the following participating elementary schools: Huddleston, North Fayette, Peachtree City, Robert J. Burch, Sara Harp Minter, Peeples and Spring Hill. This is a closed program for only the participating schools’ students and staff; it is not open to the general public.

Parents must sign a consent form and submit the fee amount in order for their child to receive the vaccine. A clinic will be set up at each school and staffed by medical professionals who will administer the nasal-mist vaccine. Clinics will be conducted during school hours. Participating students will be out of their classrooms, accompanied by their teachers, for 5-10 minutes.

The purpose of the program is to keep students and teachers healthy and in school by reducing the number of days missed from school and work. If the pilot is successful, the program may be offered to more schools next year, according School Health Specialist Debbie King.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that all children ages six months to 18 years receive an annual flu vaccination. The seasonal flu vaccine does not protect against influenza A (H1N1).

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