WUFT News

Alachua County Students Set Record for Flu Vaccination

By on January 17th, 2014

As North Central Florida undergoes a potential flu outbreak, Alachua County schools are prepared.

According to Jackie Johnson, spokeswoman for the Alachua County School Board, about 13,000 public and private school students were vaccinated this year, which is about 50 percent of the student population.

Throughout the 2013 fall semester, Johnson said the school board worked to provide students with vaccinations to help prepare for a flu outbreak.

Parker A. Small, University of Florida pathology professor, said it takes about two weeks for flu vaccinations to take effect, so it is important people get vaccinated quickly.

Small said vaccinations are especially crucial for children as they have the tendency to both contract and spread the virus faster than adults.

In children, first experiences with the flu can prove to be more severe due to their lack of immunity. Their lack of “health etiquette,” such as not washing their hands frequently or covering their mouths when coughing, can also help spread the virus rapidly, Small said.

“We wanted to get the students vaccinated as early as possible before the flu season starts,” Johnson said.

Free vaccinations were administered at school clinics through FluMist, a nasal vaccination.

According to the FluMist website, the needle-free nasal-spray flu vaccine protects against four strains of flu and is available for individuals ages two to 49.

With this year’s flu season claiming 12 lives throughout North Central Florida, five of which affected people under the age of 40, the concerns about young students were significant.

“This year, the flu has arrived earlier than we sometimes see but because of the early program the school children were protected,” Small said. “If that program had been instituted now there would have been a lot of infected kids.”

Johnson said that school nurses are available to help parents whose children were not vaccinated and might be displaying flu-like symptoms. She encouraged families to look out for vaccinations next year and said “protecting the child is the first step to protecting the family.”

Perri Konecky edited this story online.


This entry was posted in Health and Science and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Health and Science

Local Student Develops Epilepsy App, Wins $75,000

Amir Helmy’s science fair project idea has since developed into Seizario, an app that will allow epilepsy patients to monitor their seizures using the sensors from smartphones.


The University of Florida Student Health Care Center is offering free flu vaccinations for university students with a student ID.

Florida’s Fight Against Flu More Forceful This Season

More than 27 Florida counties are participating in a campaign to help fight influenza this season by giving free inhaled flu vaccines to students enrolled in elementary through high school. The campaign is being promoted by Healthy Schools LLC and Families Fighting Flu.


Ebola Preparation

Gainesville Officials Educated on Ebola Safety Procedures

Gainesville officials reassure residents of their knowledge of safety procedures taken in the case of a local Ebola case. Experts said residents shouldn’t worry about the spread of the infectious disease in Gainesville.


This is a generic photo of an enterovirus. The CDC is waiting to receive a photo of EV-D68 from their lab.

Florida’s First Case of EV-D68 Confirmed

The first case of enterovirus D68 has been confirmed in Florida after a 10-year-old girl was treated for the virus in Tampa.


University of Florida medical anthropologist Sharon Abramowitz calls for a culturally appropriate intervention in Liberia in response to the Ebola outbreak. Abramowitz addressed the crowd at an Ebola forum in Pugh Hall at UF in Gainesville, Fla., on Wednesday, October 8, 2014.

Researchers meet at the University of Florida to discuss Ebola

Anthropologists and researchers hosted a forum at Pugh Hall at the University of Florida to discuss the recent outbreak of Ebola.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments