HONOLULU — The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) annual Stop Flu at School program begins today and will continue in more than 300 public, private, and charter schools statewide through Nov. 27, 2013. This is the seventh year for the voluntary program, which administers free flu vaccinations to Hawaii students in kindergarten through grade 8.
“Despite cutbacks in spending at all levels of government, we prioritized funding for this important program, which helps protect our children,” said Health Director Loretta Fuddy. “By reducing flu in our keiki, older adults in the household will have less exposure to the virus, so that fewer of them will get it. Ultimately, this cost-effective prevention program saves lives and reduces healthcare costs.”
To vaccinate more than 60,000 students during the six-week program, DOH will orchestrate a team of more than 1,000 clinic staff that include volunteers from the Hawaii Medical Reserve Corps, state Department of Defense, Kaiser Permanente, UH Hilo School of Pharmacy, nursing programs at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hawaii Pacific University, Kapiolani Community College, Chaminade University, UH Hilo, Kauai County Community College, and UH Maui College.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an annual flu vaccination for everyone six months and older.
“The Stop Flu at School program not only helps to protect the health of Hawaii students, it is an integral part of maintaining the state’s ability to respond to infectious disease emergencies like pandemic influenza,” said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist. “Through this program, we are able to work with our many partners to practice and refine our mass vaccination plans.”
For more information about the Stop Flu at School program, go to http://flu.hawaii.gov/sfas.html or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.
The Stop Flu at School program is an innovative partnership between the State of Hawaii Departments of Health and Education, the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools, and Hawaii Catholic Schools. The program is endorsed by the Hawaii Chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians and is made possible through funding received from the CDC and the Hawaii Association of Health Plans.