Flu shots at school

How Battlefield is implementing important sickness prevention

Flu shots are crucial this time of year and it is important for every person to get vaccinated. Photo courtesy of Laughlin Air Force Base via Creative Commons.

Flu shots are crucial this time of year and it is important for every person to get vaccinated. Photo courtesy of Laughlin Air Force Base via Creative Commons.

Last year’s flu season was very drastic and has led to schools around the country making progress to fight the virus before it spirals out of control. Keeping children as healthy as possible in every school is very important. As recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, flu shots should be everyone’s best defense against getting the flu. Families should make arrangements for their children to get the flu vaccine through their in-school programs or with the physician. This year, a number of counties are bringing the opportunity for students to get the flu shot at their school.

This year, Arlington Public Schools (APS) has partnered with Healthy Schools to allow their students to get flu shots during the school day. Healthy Schools is the largest school vaccine provider in the nation. The biggest advantage is that the flu shots are available to every APS student; with a $0 copay. On October 19, students were given forms and flyers to take home to their parents. They also established an online registration for any student who misplaced their hard copy of the consent forms. According to Arlington Public Schools’ website, “The flu shot clinics will be scheduled in schools over the seven days after we return from Thanksgiving Break: Nov. 26 – Dec. 4.” The clinics will be staffed by local nurses through Healthy Schools. The main goal of this program is to ensure that every APS student will have the option of getting vaccinated and hopefully fight through the flu season.

Healthy Schools also partnered with the Houston Independent School District to allow students to get the flu shot for free. Parents were able to sign up their children between October and the beginning of December to receive their vaccine. Programs have also been put in place in other states around the country and should continue to grow. The Principal of the school, Gwendolyn Johnson, stated, “the opportunity to provide equitable access to vaccines for all of our children and provide them all the opportunity to be protected, regardless of where they live in the district and their ability to pay.” The program that they have put in place will hopefully show to have an impact on fighting the flu this season.

Prince William County Schools hire nurses through the school board rather than being hired from the county’s health department. The nurses hired through health departments are able to bring in the vaccines to the schools, however for Prince William it would not be as easy in term of cost effectiveness. Battlefield High School’s school nurse, Mrs. Fairbanks, shared her insight on the advantages and disadvantages of public schools providing vaccinations. “We would be able to reach a whole lot more people in an inconvenient manner. The negative impact is that students are supposed to be learning in school, there may be a time when they are not in a learning mode after getting the vaccine. They might be crying, especially little kids, or have an aching arm.” Although there are several benefits to having flu shots available in school, it is not the most effective opportunity for every public school.

Vaccinating children against flu viruses will help the entire community by preventing it to be spread elsewhere. Students can very easily transmit the virus while at school, so it is important that they be vaccinated to benefit the other students they interact with. If students are given the opportunity to get a free flu shot from their school, it would be best to get vaccinated before it is too late.