The FluMist vaccination program started Monday in all Knox County Schools. On Thursday, nurses were at Rocky Hill Elementary School administering the FluMist.
The program, through the Knox County Health Department, allows all students to be vaccinated against the flu. Parents must sign their kids up for the program. They can go to this website to enroll their children.
"The online consent is a real time saver," said John Lott, KCHD director of clinical services who oversees the school-located flu vaccination program. "This year we've added the QR codes to the in-school posters and other signage so parents can enroll their child from their phone when they drop
them off at school."
Paper consent forms also are available at the schools.
No child will be vaccinated without a completed, signed and returned consent form.
This year's school-located vaccination clinics will be conducted between Sept. 17 and Oct. 12, offering FluMist intranasal vaccine. Children who miss their school clinics may visit any KCHD location for a free influenza
Due to decreased federal and state funding to buy vaccine, KCHD will be billing insurance for children who have insurance and parents are asked to provide their insurance information on the consent forms. KCHD will accept assignment and no costs will be passed on to the parents.
To help cover vaccine cost for children without insurance, a new donation feature also is available. Parents can donate during the consent process. The general public can donate vaccine through KCHD's website at knoxcounty.org/health or the Metropolitan Drug Commission's website at
http://www.metrodrug.org/web/flumist. MDC is partnering with KCHD to make the donations possible. Donations are tax deductible and all funds go directly to an account specified to purchase vaccine.
This is the eighth year for the program, which the KCHD says has
successfully reduced the amount of flu in the community. Studies have shown that vaccinating children against the flu keeps them healthy and has a ripple effect through the community that protects young and old alike.
Since the start of the school flu vaccination program eight years ago, only one Knox County school has closed due to flu, and that was in the early days of the H1N1 pandemic due to CDC protocol which was later changed.