Flu Vaccine Adminstered at Menchville

Local non-profit organization parters with NNPS to give students the opportunity to receive flu immunization in school.

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Allison Scherner

On Wednesday, November 19th,2014 Menchville students waited patiently in the small gym to recieve their flu vaccination. 139 Flu mists were distributed along with 9 injections. No one has been reported ill or to have a reaction after immunization. Positive responses on the success of the free clinic have been heard from both students and the faculty.

“Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. between December and February,” says the official website for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC for short). “However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May.”

This year, Newport News Public Schools partnered with non-profit organization Health Hero to give students the opportunity to get the flu vaccination during the day at school, free of charge. With the on-site location, students won’t have to leave school and parents don’t have to leave work to bring their children to a doctor to be immunized. According to the informative letter sent home with student consent forms, “Flu is among the top vaccine- preventable illnesses. Per the CDC, 25 to 50 million cases are reported each year in the United States. They lead to hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and tens of thousands of death!”  Menchville High School nurses Mary Hill and Ellen Marshall speak positively of getting the vaccine and encourage kids to get the immunizations since it is available . When asked, they described how fantastic it was to have the clinic just right down the hall for a day.

Last year, in 2013, vaccines were limited due to lack of supply. Millions of doses were sent out from manufacturers but with such high demand, the vaccine was scarce. Registered Nurse Amy Beaulieu who works with Health Hero says, “We know how much we have; we don’t know the demand. We may run out in a month.” She explained further that if local media increases awareness of the flu then more people might want to be immunized. There will also be similar reaction if many people catch the flu during the season.

Another volunteer for Health Hero, Neveu Theresa, described multiple ways to make getting the vaccination a more comfortable experience. The Health Hero team tries their very best to make getting a couple little pinches in your muscle more friendly and warming to those who are nervous.   The actual live virus can be given as a mist nasal-spray or through a needle. Children with chronic illnesses, asthma, allergies and more can have the option of a simple shot and not have to worry about being at risk by inhaling the flu vaccine mist. It is still preferred everyone who gets the immunization be monitored in the twenty-four hours after receiving the vaccine. Some people may get sick, run a fever, or get a headache.

Health teacher Coach Haas covers the Flu in one of the units in Health I. She explains, “Getting the vaccine is important. Infectious diseases spread. You miss time when you’re sick!”

With the vaccine, we can prevent the spread of the flu and we can have less students out sick because of it. The clinic plans on continuing to give students the opportunity to get the vaccine easy and free of cost. The team reports that they plan on returning next year.