Maui News

80,000 vaccinations to be distributed in Stop Flu at School campaign

October 13, 2010, 8:35 AM HST
* Updated October 18, 9:13 AM
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The state kicks off its Protect Hawaii’s Keiki: Stop Flu at School campaign this week and will continue efforts through December 2nd.  In its fourth year, the program will be administering about 80,000 free flu vaccinations this year to 331 participating public, private, and charter school students, faculty and staff — about the same level of participation as last year.

State health officials say the vaccine is the best protection against the flu, and that Hawai’i’s youth are a high-risk priority group.

“After last year’s H1N1 flu pandemic we all know that the flu can be unpredictable,” said Hawai’i State Department of Health director Dr. Chiyome Fukino. ”We are recommending that everyone, age six months and older, receive an annual flu vaccination. Ensuring the health and well-being of our keiki is a top priority for public health,” said Fukino.

Last year the state held two Stop Flu at School vaccination clinics because of the H1N1 flu pandemic. More than 55,000 additional students and 10,000 faculty and staff took advantage of the H1N1 vaccine program.

This year’s vaccine includes the 2009 H1N1 flu strain as well as two other flu strains. The state Department of Health says studies have shown that school-age children who are vaccinated for the flu have fewer illnesses, fewer school absences, and a lower rate of illness in their families during the flu season, which typically runs from October through May.

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“The students and faculty participating in this program are perfect examples of how best to protect against the flu,” Fukino said. “Providing students with free vaccinations is a convenience to them and their families,” said Fukino.

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