Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pilot Flu-Free Schools Program Likely to Return Next Year

Fayette County Health Department nurse Cindy Stratton, RN, gives Janaé Walker a seasonal flu vaccine during the make-up clinic at Robert J. Burch Elementary on November 16 as her mom, Veronica, holds her.

The pilot Flu-Free Schools program has been deemed a success and will most likely return next year, hopefully expanding to additional elementary schools.

The program was held at seven elementary schools last month to provide the FluMist vaccine for seasonal flu to students and employees at those schools. A total of 552 students or approximately 13.5 percent of the total student population of the participating schools received the flu vaccine.

Of these same schools, 113 staff members received the vaccine or approximately 24.4 percent of the total employee population. Nearly 40 percent of all eligible persons were vaccinated. These numbers will increase as additional students and employees receive the vaccine during make-up clinics at the schools November 16-19.

Parents had to give consent for their children to receive the vaccination. Burch parent Veronica Walker was pleased that the Flu-Free Schools program was held at her daughter’s school because her pediatrician had ran out of the regular flu vaccine.

“This is a real convenience. We don’t have to sit around and wait at the doctor’s office. It can be done right here at school and I don’t have to check my daughter out to take her to the doctor,” says Walker.

Walker’s daughter, Janaé, who is in pre-K, had to have the injectable vaccine since she had received the H1N1 vaccination the Friday prior to the make-up clinic.

Only students and staff members of each school were eligible to receive the seasonal flu vaccine. The program was not open to the general public or to students and staffs at other schools. Injectable vaccines were available for students and adults who could not take FluMist due to health issues or other concerns.

The participating elementary schools were Huddleston, North Fayette, Peachtree City, Robert J. Burch, Sara Harp Minter, Peeples and Spring Hill. The schools were selected based on their geographic location and that they had past experience setting up flu clinics.

District 4 Public Health sponsored the Flu-Free Schools program. The purpose of the program was to keep students and teachers healthy and in school by reducing the number of days missed from school and work.

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