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Flagler Health Department Protects 1,242 Flagler Students with FLU Shots

By Gretchen Smith

December 19, 2018

Nurse Stephanie Ear finishes giving a flu shot to
Flagler Palm Coast High School Senior Charles Smith

Bunnell, Fla.— As part of its agreement with Flagler Schools, the Florida Department of Health in Flagler (DOH-Flagler) was contracted to provide flu shots to students and faculty at all schools in the district. Parental consent forms went home early in the school year, and over the past two weeks, 1,242 students received the vaccine at in-school clinics.

“We are delighted by the positive feedback and reception we received, as this was our first year administering flu shots on school campuses,” said Robert Snyder, health officer for DOH-Flagler. “We exceeded our goal by 100 percent, vaccinating more than 1,200 students and nearly 100 faculty and staff. This should help reduce vulnerability in our schools and it’s a sign that people are taking precaution with the flu.”

Snyder added that students who didn’t get their flu shot at school can still get one for free at the health department. The vaccine is also available for adults.

Based on reports from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the 2017/18 Flu season killed and hospitalized more people in the US last winter than any seasonal influenza in decades. The respiratory virus made millions of people sick and overwhelmed hospitals through the country. The CDC reported that influenza killed about 80,000 people last flu season, exceeding a previous record of 56,000 deaths. Further, the CDC estimates that between 15% and 40% of the US population will develop influenza each year, with an annual average of 36,000 people dying from the infection, and approximately 114,000 will be hospitalized.

As a new flu season gets underway, these statistics reinforce why it’s important to get a flu shot each year. DOH-Flagler recommends everyone age 6 months or older receive the vaccine. 

According to medical director Dr. Stephen Bickel, getting vaccinated also can reduce the seriousness of an infection in the event you catch one.

“Many studies show that vaccination can reduce the severity of illness in people who get sick,” said Bickel. “This means less flu-associated hospitalizations and fewer missed days from school or work. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for those who have or encounter individuals with higher risk of flu complications -- children under age 5, pregnant women, people 65 and older and those with asthma, diabetes, heart disease and lung disease -- to get flu shots every year.”

Bickel also mentioned that it takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop protection against the flu, and that proper and frequent handwashing can help flu from spreading.

Put the flu vaccine between you and the virus this year by receiving your flu shot today.

About the Florida Department of Health

The Department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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For information about the Florida Department of Health in Flagler, go to, call 386-437-7350, or visit 301 Dr. Carter Blvd. in Bunnell.