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DeKalb Health Department leads flu fight in schools
Antonio Diaz photo--The CDC recommends flu shots as a best practice especially for young and elderly persons.
It’s August and as students, parents and teachers prepare for another school year, staff members at the DeKalb County Health Department are preparing flyers, forms and flu vaccine to keep influenza out of DeKalb County Schools.“This is our fourth year of providing flu vaccinations at schools and we couldn’t be happier with the welcome we get from DeKalb County school staff members, the appreciation of parents and especially the increasing number of students who get vaccinated each year,” said DeKalb County Health Department Director Michael Railling. “The students know they’re protecting themselves. What they may not know is how much they’re protecting people around them, such as grandparents and even total strangers, from this potentially deadly infection.”“It’s impossible to know how many lives are spared severe sickness or even death as a result of this effort,” said State Epidemiologist Tim Jones, MD. “But the evidence suggests providing flu vaccine in schools reduces the spread of flu in communities and keeps young learners healthy and in the classroom.”Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH said the school-based flu immunization effort also serves another important purpose: It allows public health departments across the state to practice for emergencies where schools may be used for mass distribution of vaccine or other medicine in the event of a natural or manmade disaster.“School-based flu vaccine programs give us regular opportunities to practice our plans to provide critical, life-saving medications during emergencies,” Dreyzehner said.