Everyone needs the influenza vaccine each year, especially children. Kids easily spread influenza in school settings and then carry the virus home to their families. Research finds that although a healthy adult has around a seven percent chance of getting influenza any given season, school kids have around a 20 percent chance each year.
Olmsted Medical Center, Mayo Clinic, Olmsted County Public Health, Dodge County Public Health, Goodhue County Public Health, and area private and public schools have once again teamed up to offer influenza vaccinations at most schools throughout Olmsted County, Mower County, Kasson/Mantorville public schools in Dodge County, and Pine Island public schools. These immunizations will take place on September 19 through October 14, 2022.
“Every year we look forward to providing the flu vaccine to our youth at a location that is convenient to them and their families. Our continued collaborative effort allows us to provide opportunities to distribute flu immunization more broadly to the children in our community,” said Nurse Manager for Disease Prevention and Control at Olmsted County Public Health Leah Espinda-Brandt.
School-located vaccines are fast, easy and convenient for both parents and children to keep influenza out of the classroom. Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center nurses will administer the flu vaccine to children in the schools. The flu vaccine is the same as the one given in the clinic and will be offered as a shot or as a nasal spray (FluMist®) as available. The cost of the vaccine will be billed directly to the child’s insurance and recorded in the child’s electronic medical record.
Nursing staff will offer non-medication, pain-reducing, topical coolant sprays, and other distractions proven to reduce pain when children receive the influenza shot.
“We are striving to make the influenza vaccine more easily available to all school children. Vaccination of school-aged children is the most effective way to prevent outbreaks of influenza within the school setting and the community,” says Robert M. Jacobson, M.D., medical director, Primary Care in Southeast Minnesota Immunization Program at Mayo Clinic. “Furthermore, preventing fever, cough and colds means preventing COVID-19 testing and quarantine.”
Registration is required to receive the flu vaccine. Online registration begins August 10, 2022 and parents can register their children until September 14, 2022. Online registration is preferred; however, paper forms are available at schools. Registration forms will not be accepted after 11 p.m. on September 14.
For more information, including the schools participating in the School-Located Immunization Program and how to register, go to the Southeast Minnesota Immunization Connection website.