Flu season is around the corner and the Bryan County Health Department will be holding voluntary and free flu vaccination clinics at schools in Bryan County in the coming months.
Information on the clinics and parental consent forms are posted on each school website and students in Pre-K through high school are eligible for the vaccination. Parents or guardians who want their children to get vaccinated need to fill the forms out and return them to school nurses by Sept. 6, “so we can properly schedule for the needs of each school,” said Dr. Trey Robertson, Bryan County Schools assistant superintendent of operations and student services.
Robertson said the health department will offer two different types of vaccination for students. One is the inactive flu vaccine, or flu shot, and the other is a live vaccine sprayed into the nose.
Students will get one or the other or not be eligible for the vaccine, depending on answers parents provide on the consent form, according to a letter to parents and guardians from Dr. Diane Weems, director of the Coastal Health District.
“You should fully answer the medical questions on the consent form,” the letter states. “Whether or not your child can receive the vaccine and the type of flu vaccine, nasal or injectable, that your child receives will be determined by the nurse based on your answers on the parental consent form. If all questions are not answered, then the student will not be vaccinated at the school clinic.”
The vaccinations are free to all students regardless of whether they have insurance, but the health department is asking for insurance information and copy of insurance cards in an effort to collect an administration fee to help fund the clinics.
Regardless of whether an insurance company agrees to pay or not, “you will not be billed by us or your insurance,” the letter from Weems states.
It also notes the “flu virus is easily spread through coughs, sneezes and by touching something with the virus on it and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Those in close proximity to one another on a regular basis, as in our schools, are more vulnerable to getting and spreading the flu virus.”
The letter also states the flu vaccine is safe, effective and “can help protect your child from illness, hospitalization or worse. Less illness means fewer days of missed school and few days of missed work.”