Employee & Community Health

School flu clinics offer convenient immunization option

8/22/2016 by Dr. Robert Jacobson

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As you prepare your kids for school, it's also time to prepare them for the flu season. Employee and Community Health (ECH), Olmsted Medical Center (OMC), Olmsted County Public Health Services (OCPHS) and public and private schools are ready for another influenza season with immunization clinics at most Olmsted County schools. Vaccinating school-aged children and adolescents helps prevent influenza outbreaks because students are most likely to contract and spread the virus. 

Flu clinics will be held at 49 schools across Olmsted County from September 19 through October 14. All elementary, middle and some high schools are included. Rochester public high schools will not be participating. 

National experts have recommended against the use of the flu nasal spray, so only the injectable vaccine will be given in the schools, primary care clinics or public health locations this year. Non-medication pain relief, such as a coolant spray, will be available to make the shot as painless as possible. 

Families with school-aged children or adolescents are encouraged to register for this convenient program, which results in less time out of the classroom. Nearly half of the students registered have participated in past years. Each student's vaccine record will be updated automatically in their medical record and in the state registry. 

Visit the Southeast Minnesota Immunization Connection (SEMIC) website for information on how to register. 

Flu vaccines will be administered by the children's own providers (Mayo Clinic or OMC) using the same nursing staff and vaccine the children would have if they visited their primary care clinic. the students' insurance will be billed. Free vaccinations are available for those who qualify. 

For more information, contact schoolflu@mayo.edu

Dr. Robert M. Jacobson is a primary care pediatrician in Employee and Community Health's (ECH) Division of Community Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (CPAM) and is the medical director of the ECH and Southeast Minnesota Region Immunization Program.