The Hawaii State Department of Health’s (DOH) annual Stop Flu at School program began this week and will continue in 185 public schools statewide through November 27th.
The voluntary program administers free flu shots to students in kindergarten through eighth grade who are enrolled at participating schools. Approximately 31,500 students are expected to be vaccinated through the program this year.
“The number of students signed up to receive their flu shots through the Stop Flu at School program has been increasing in recent years,” said Health Director Bruce Anderson.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an annual flu vaccination for everyone ages six months and older. Since 2010, CDC estimates that between 130 and 1,200 children (younger than 18 years) have died from flu each year.
“Vaccination is our best defense against the flu. It can help prevent illness, but more importantly, it decreases the risk of severe illness, which can result in hospitalizations and death,” said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist. “
For those unable to be vaccinated through the Stop Flu at School program, flu vaccine is available through healthcare provider offices and clinics as well as pharmacies, for those older than age 11 years.For a list of vaccinating pharmacies statewide, visit the DOH Vaccine Locator online here.