Houston County Hot Shots Coalition Reaches Out to High School Students to Get Flu Shot

April 13, 2015

More than 7,800 high school students in Houston County will hopefully be protected during the 2015 influenza season by getting the flu shot. That’s because the Houston County Hot Shots Coalition is expanding its School Based Flu campaign to educate students, school administrators and parents on the importance of the flu shot as the best prevention against getting the flu and missing school and other activities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infectious diseases account for millions of school days lost each year for kindergarten through 12th-grade public school students in the United States. As many as 38 million school days are lost each year due to the influenza virus.

During the 2014-2015 flu season, the Hot Shots Coalition administered 1300 combined flu and TDaP vaccinations to Robins Air Force Base civilians. 

“Hot Shots is one of our strongest and longest lasting coalitions of private, public and school providers,” said David Harvey, M.D., North Central district health director. “In an effort to address the growing need for vaccination education and vaccinations, these community partners joined together to combat the lack of availability to local residents.”

This past flu season, local Houston County partners donated various prizes such as restaurant coupons and gift cards to create incentives for local residents to secure their flu shot.

To gain additional momentum in the effort to promote influenza vaccinations in Houston County, Hot Shots applied for and received a grant from Flint Energies to purchase and give away iPads to high school students in Houston County who get their flu shot at the school clinic to prevent the spread of influenza during flu season.

“We want to make sure that no child has to miss school because of the flu so we are using the $3000 award from Flint Energies to purchase approximately 10 iPads to raffle off at the five local high schools with the intent of increasing student interest in vaccination,” said Christina A. Sikes, RN, county nurse manager, Houston County Health Department.  "Only students who receive the vaccine during the school clinic will be included in the raffle drawing."

Established in 2005, The Houston County Hot Shots Coalition is comprised of the Houston County Health Department, Houston County Board of Education, Houston Healthcare, Robins Air Force Base, and representatives from private physicians and child care providers. Hot Shots’ focus is to make sure that all students in the school receive their annual vaccinations.

“We have plenty of room for improvement of current flu shots among our high school students in Houston County and we hope our incentives will increase our immunization rates during the next influenza season," said Sikes.

For more information on the Houston County School Based Flu immunization campaign, call the Houston County Health Department at (478) 218-2000 or visit the Houston County Health Department website for information on childhood immunizations. 

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