Free flu vaccine push underway
Free influenza vaccinations began Tuesday as part of the state Department of Health’s ongoing “Stop Flu at School” program in more than 300 public, private and charter schools statewide through Nov. 27.
On Tuesday, children were vaccinated at Kilohana Elementary School on Molokai, Montessori School of Maui in Makawao and Waihee Elementary. Today, vaccinations are scheduled for students at Kula Elementary School and St. Anthony Junior Senior High School in Wailuku.
The schedule for other Maui County schools follows:
* Thursday, Carden Academy of Maui, Pukalani; Kamehameha Schools Maui (Middle Campus), Pukalani.
* Friday, Paia Elementary School.
* Tuesday, Akaula School, Molokai; Clearview Christian Girls School, Pukalani; Kamehameha Schools Maui (Elementary Campus), Pukalani; Sacred Hearts School, Lahaina.
* Oct. 23, Kahului Elementary School; Maunaloa Elementary School, Molokai.
* Oct. 24, Doris Todd Christian Academy, Paia; Kualapuu Elementary School, Molokai; Lahaina Intermediate School.
* Oct. 25, Lihikai Elementary School, Kahului; Molokai Middle School; Pukalani Elementary School.
* Oct. 29, Wailuku Elementary School.
* Oct. 30, Pomaikai Elementary School, Kahului; St. Anthony Grade School, Wailuku.
* Oct. 31, Iao Intermediate School, Wailuku; Maui Adventist School, Kahului.
* Nov. 1, Kamalii Elementary School, Kihei; Kaunakakai Elementary School, Molokai.
* Nov. 5, Kihei Charter School; Makawao Elementary School.
* Nov. 6, Haiku Elementary School.
* Nov. 8, Puu Kukui Elementary School, Wailuku.
* Nov. 13, Hana High and Elementary School.
* Nov. 14, Princess Nahienaena Elementary School, Lahaina.
* Nov. 15, Emmanuel Lutheran School, Kahului; Lanai High and Elementary School.
* Nov. 19, Kihei Elementary School.
* Nov. 21, Kamehameha III Elementary School, Lahaina.
* Nov. 22, Lokelani Intermediate School, Kihei.
The program is in its seventh year of administering flu vaccines to students in kindergarten through the 8th grade.
“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 health care costs.”
To vaccinate more than 60,000 students during the six-week program, the Health Department will orchestrate a team of more than 1,000 clinic staffers that include volunteers from the University of Hawaii Maui College, 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 and Kauai Community College.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 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, go to flu.hawaii.gov/sfas.html or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 211.