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State scales back school flu-vaccine program

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    Stop Flu at School, the state’s free annual vaccination program for students in kindergarten through eighth grade, will only be offered at about 90 public schools on Oahu this year, according to the Department of Health.

Stop Flu at School, the state’s free annual vaccination program for students in kindergarten through eighth grade, will only be offered at about 90 public schools on Oahu this year, according to the Department of Health. In addition, the free flu shots will no longer be offered in private schools.

“We recognize that many families relied on the Stop Flu at School program as a free and convenient way to vaccinate their children, so scaling back the program’s offerings was not a decision taken lightly,” state health director Virginia Pressler said in a news release. “After careful consideration, we understood it was critical to prioritize eligible schools based on students with the greatest need for assistance, which allowed us to maximize the benefit to the public while utilizing the limited funds and resources available.”

The 90 schools on Oahu that were selected had at least 40 percent of students participating in the state’s free and reduced-meal programs.

The flu vaccinations will continue to be offered to all elementary and intermediate public schools in Kauai, Maui and Hawaii counties later this year.

Information packets and consent forms will be sent out in October, with the clinics scheduled to begin Nov. 1.

“Parents of students attending schools no longer eligible for the Stop Flu at School program are encouraged to have their child vaccinated by their health-care provider,” state Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said in the news release. “As an additional resource, pharmacies are now able to provide flu vaccine to children ages 11 through 17 with a prescription from their health-care provider.”

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