Statewide Program Takes Aim at the Flu

School-based flu vaccinations begin in October.

Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona.

As a new school year begins on Molokai, our Administration has turned its focus to protecting students ages 5 to 13 from seasonal flu.

It is part of our state Department of Health’s “Stop Flu at School” program, a voluntary effort intended to make vaccinating children fast and easy for hundreds of families in Molokai.

Last year, 544 school children in Molokai participated in the program aimed at reducing illness in schools and communities by preventing the spread of the flu among them and their families.

The school-based flu vaccinations will begin October, when all Hawai‘i public and private schools qualify to participate. Consent forms have been sent home to parents through schools. They are due Sept. 5.

And we encourage all parents to allow their children to participate if they are not already getting flu vaccinations from their own physicians.

Few illnesses have as great an impact on Hawai‘i’s health and economy as the seasonal flu, which can result in countless school and work absences, hospitalizations, and even death.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu has been linked to more than 80 deaths among children across the country in the first six months of the year. None of those deaths occurred in Hawai‘i.

Through this program, we have an opportunity to continue protecting our children from the flu.

In fact, Hawai‘i became the first state in the nation last year to institute this program statewide for elementary and middle school children. And more than 60,000 school children received free flu vaccinations through this program last year.
 
That represents about 45 percent of all school children in our state between ages 5 and 13. This year, our goal is to vaccinate at least 50 percent of our students in that age group.  We strongly believe that vaccinating children against the flu not only protects them, it also safeguards their community.

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