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Schools to offer flu vaccinations

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POSTED: August 27, 2013 7:30 a.m.

It’s never too early to be prepared for flu season, according to school and health officials.
“The school district is an integral part of the community, and we remain committed to doing all that we can to keep our staff and students as healthy as possible,” said Jason Rogers, assistant superintendent for administrative services.
Students returned to the classroom just three weeks ago, but a notice for bid proposals to administer influenza vaccine was posted on the district website shortly after classes resumed Aug. 7.
The Liberty County School System currently is accepting bid proposals for administration of the immunization for the 2013-14 school year, the online notice reads. Proposals must be received in Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Dr. Mary Alexander’s office by 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30.
The district is not financially responsible for the vaccination service, Rogers confirmed by email.
The Liberty County Health Department, which already has submitted a proposal to the Liberty County Board of Education to administer this year’s influenza vaccine, has partnered with Winn Army Community Hospital in providing school-based flu vaccination clinics for the past three years, according to Elizabeth Hausauer, R.N., Coastal Health District immunization coordinator, and Annie Washington, R.N., Liberty County Health Department nurse manager.
Nurses from the health department and WACH have worked jointly to immunize military and civilian students in the system’s schools, Hausauer and Washington said.
“The partnership with WACH will continue this year should the Liberty County Health Department’s proposal for school flu administration be accepted,” Hausauer said.
“The Liberty County Health Department will provide flu vaccinations to the public as soon as adequate amounts of vaccine are received,” Washington said. “Some vaccine has already begun to arrive. Based on past flu seasons, we anticipate that we will begin vaccination in the clinics in mid to late September. Currently, there aren’t any known delays in receiving vaccine that would push back our anticipated start time for providing vaccines to the public.”
Rogers said both the spray and injection forms of the flu vaccine would be made available in the school-based vaccination clinics.
Washington said flu vaccination is recommended for people ages 6 months and older.
The health department will offer the traditional injection flu vaccine for patients age 6 months and older, the nasal flu mist for ages 2-49 and a high-dose flu vaccine, which is recommended for people 65 and older, she added.
However, local health officials cannot yet predict how severe or mild the coming flu season will be.
“There is not currently any notable information coming from the CDC regarding the upcoming flu season,” Hausauer said. “There are not novel or particularly exciting strains currently circulating in other parts of the world that we anticipate will cause issues here.”
The health department has ordered sufficient amounts of flu vaccine to immunize all interested children should the health department win the bid to provide school-based flu vaccine, Coastal Health District spokesperson Sally Silbermann said.
“The health department is prepared to offer the program at no out-of-pocket cost to parents,” Silbermann said. “The health department has also made plans to distribute paper forms through the schools and to make the forms available electronically or on our website for those interested in participating.”
Public-health officials state on the Coastal Health District’s website that school-based flu vaccination clinics will be held this fall in Liberty, Long, Bryan, Effingham, Glynn and McIntosh counties.
Local public-health departments also offer a federally funded government program, Vaccines for Children, which provides vaccines to children and teens at no or reduced cost to uninsured families and others who qualify.
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