Monday, December 23, 2019

Pilot project puts heroic stamp on student immunization numbers

By STACY HALL | LDH Immunization Program Director

Jefferson Parish students had the opportunity to see real heroes in action over four days in December.
Through the combined efforts of the Louisiana Department of Health, Health Heroes with the guidance from the Louisiana Academy of Pediatrics, Jefferson Parish School Board and — most importantly — school nurses and staff, more than 2,500 flu vaccines were administered to students at 79 schools December 9-12. Students received their vaccines in their schools, missing less than 5 minutes of class time.
This pilot program was voluntary, allowing parents and guardians the choice to have their child vaccinated against the flu. Since the vaccines were given at school, parents and guardians didn’t miss any time from work. Also, they didn’t have to worry about any co-pays, meaning no out-of-pocket expenses.
Students were given Flucelvax®, a flu vaccine for anyone ages 4 and older. It is made from inactivated (dead) flu viruses, protects against four strains of influenza and is free of antibiotics, latex, preservatives and eggs.
Thanks to the success of this pilot program in Jefferson Parish, it will be expanded to six more school districts beginning in January 2020.
The vaccination clinics were made possible through a public/private partnership between the Department of Health and Health Heroes, which brings flu immunization clinics to schools. These clinics provide flu vaccines to all consented school children regardless of their health insurance coverage and with no out-of-pocket expense.
Now, more children will be protected against the flu as they prepare to travel or gather with family and friends for the holidays. If your child wasn’t included in this effort to prevent flu, or if you haven’t received your flu shot, now is the time to get vaccinated. It’s your first and best way to reduce your chances of getting the flu and spreading it to others.
Flu shots are available at any parish health unit throughout flu season at no cost to the patient. Local pharmacies, clinics, doctors’ offices and federally qualified (community) health centers also will offer flu shots throughout the season. Check for a flu shot provider near you.

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