Stop Flu at School Kicks Off Statewide Vaccination Clinics

Grant Boone
October 22, 2019

Doctors are advising pregnant women, those over 65 and those with underlying medical conditions to get the flu shot as soon as possible. Public health officials will have sufficient supplies of the trivalent vaccine, which protects against three types, to compensate and those vaccines "should offer a similar level of protection for the types of flu expected to circulate this year, so this shortfall is not expected to be clinically significant".

Heather Amos, a spokesperson for the Centre for Disease Control and the Provincial Health Services Authority, said there's nothing unusual about the fact that big flu vaccine shipments aren't here yet.

"We are glad schools and parents continue to appreciate and find value in this program", said Department of Health Director Bruce Anderson.

Some students said they'd feel more at ease about the spread of influenza if people got the flu vaccination to prepare.

The Hawai'i State Department of Health's (DOH) annual Stop Flu at School program began last week and will continue in 185 public schools statewide through November 27, 2019.

"It's hard to predict the severity of the flu virus this season but we're monitoring the situation and prepared for any early or unusual influenza activity", she said.

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The CDC recommends that everyone six months of age and older get the flu vaccine, with rare exceptions.

The flu vaccine is designed for the body to develop antibodies a few weeks after getting the shot. Flu symptoms can occur suddenly and include fever, coughing, sore throat, headaches and fatigue.

These infections are collectively called flu-like illness.

Although it's possible to contract the flu after receiving the vaccine, the likelihood of it becoming deadly is minor. The best protection against flu-like illness is to stay away from sick people.

A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics in 2017 showed that flu vaccination significantly reduced a child's risk of dying from the flu.

Officials encourage flu vaccines for everyone who qualifies, and to practice good hygiene, like hand-washing.

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