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

Molly McCann, 66, traps a wild calico cat Sunday evening. She works with Operation Catnip, a local organization that cares for Gainesville’s community cat population by spaying or neutering and vaccinating them before releasing them back to their turfs.

Operation Catnip Launches Website, Educates On Trap And Neuter Methods

Gainesville non-profit dedicated to sterilizing and vaccinating stray cats creates a website to help other communities take care of un-owned cats.


The Florida Department of Children and Families recently included a new heat map on their child fatality website. The heat map shows communities in Florida affected by child fatalities.

Rise In Duval County Infant Fatalities Increases Need For Awareness And Transparency

Infant fatalities are on the rise in Duval County, but the Department of Children and Families is strategizing how to bring awareness to parents and caretakers about unsafe sleeping practices. It has made resources and information available to the community about past child fatalities and how to prevent them.


dogpalsy

Community Provides Companion For Cerebral Palsy Child

Olivia Pitts, 3, has lived with cerebral palsy her whole life. Now, her community has pulled together to provide her with a service dog..


Jessica Grobman, born HIV-positive, said she believes better sex education in Florida schools would help children grow up safer and healthier. “If education was just more encouraged, it definitely could be a great outcome,” she said.  Photo courtesy of Jessica Grobman.

HIV Positive Student Advocates Comprehensive Sex Education

Jessica Grobman was born with HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus. But it was not until she learned about HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in middle school that she began to understand she was different.


FTN-feature

UF Graduate Students Offer Free Therapy To Those In Need

Volunteer graduate students studying clinical health psychology staff the Free Therapy Night clinic at Gainesville Community Ministry. The equal access clinic focuses specifically on mental health.


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
Underwriting Payments