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Flagler Health Department Heads "Back to Schools" With Flu Shots

By Gretchen Smith

November 02, 2020

Bunnell, Fla.— As part of its agreement with Flagler Schools, the Florida Department of Health in Flagler (DOH-Flagler) is back on local campuses this month offering flu shots to students, staff and faculty. Parental consent forms went home in October, and health department staff plan to visit all schools November 9 through 20.

Hundreds of millions of Americans have safely received flu vaccines over the past 50 years. Each year, the CDC works with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other partners to ensure the highest safety standards.

Because protection from flu vaccine declines over time and flu viruses are constantly changing, yearly vaccination is best. Flu vaccine is evaluated every year and often updated to address the viruses that will be common during an upcoming flu season. This year, the CDC underscores that flu vaccine is more important than ever to protect yourself and the people around you, and to help reduce the strain on health care systems responding to Covid-19.

“In 2019, our first year offering in-school flu vaccines, we administered more than 1,200 doses to students and another 100 to faculty and staff,” said Robert Snyder, health officer for DOH-Flagler. “We had hoped to exceed these numbers in 2020 but, given the number of students attending school remotely and COVID-19, this may not be possible. However, the good news is there are many nearby locations where you can get a flu vaccine for free, including pharmacies, grocery stores, doctor’s offices and some of our COVID-19 testing sites. Students who miss getting a shot at school can also get one at the health department.”

According to Medical Director Dr. Stephen Bickel, the flu vaccine can help reduce the seriousness of an infection if you catch one.

“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. It’s very important for people who are at 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. The same applies for those in close contact with these individuals.”

As a reminder, it takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop protection against the flu. Healthy habits like proper and frequent handwashing can help flu, and any other virus from spreading. Similarly, the health department reminds residents to:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.

  • Regularly clean and disinfect “high-touch” surfaces in your home, school or office.

  • And if you’re sick, contain those germs and stay home.

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.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @HealthyFla. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.

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