Each year, staff and students battle the spread of influenza and the widespread affects it can have on a family, a classroom, and a school. In hopes to increase vaccination rates by making the flu vaccine easily accessible, the Barton County Health Department will be offering flu clinics at all Great Bend Schools early in November.
Flu is a contagious disease that spreads around the United States every year, usually between October and May. Anyone can get the flu, but it is more dangerous for some people. Infants and young children, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions or a weakened immune system are at greatest risk of flu complications.
“Flu vaccines are not mandatory,” said Libbie Merritt, USD 428 school nurse, “but the CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age and older be vaccinated as a first line of defense against influenza. Only students with signed consent forms will receive the vaccine during the clinics.”
The Center for Disease Control lists the most common flu symptoms as fever and chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache, and runny or stuffy nose. The CDC also states that each year thousands of people in the United States die from flu, and many more are hospitalized. The flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related visits to the doctor each year.
USD 428 parents received consent forms during Parent Teacher Conferences this week and paperwork must be returned to the student’s attendance center two days prior to the scheduled clinic. In addition to providing consent, parents/guardians are responsible for providing a copy of their insurance information. The cost of the flu vaccine for uninsured students or staff is $36, made payable to the Barton County Health Department.
Available at each building, the Flu Clinics are open for both staff and students and will operate from 7:30-9 a.m., or until all vaccinations have been administered.
“As always, the health and safety of our students is our top priority,” said Merritt. “We hope these clinics are convenient for our USD 428 families, and that the effort provides an added layer of protection for our students this flu season.”
2019 Flu Clinics, administered by the Barton County Health Department:
• Great Bend High School - Oct. 30
• Great Bend Middle School & Lincoln Elementary - Nov. 12
• Riley Elementary & Jefferson Elementary - Nov. 13
• Park Elementary - Nov. 14
• Eisenhower Elementary- Nov. 19
For more information, contact the Great Bend USD 428 District Office by calling 620-793-1500.