Vaccination called ‘best defense’

LIHUE — The Hawaii State Department of Health’s annual “Stop Flu at School” program began on Tuesday.

It’s the 10th anniversary for the voluntary program, which administers free flu vaccinations to Hawaii students in kindergarten through eighth grade who are enrolled in one of the 240 participating public, private and charter schools across the state.

“Through the Stop Flu at School program, we hope to vaccinate many of our school-age children,” said Dr. Sarah Park, state epidemiologist. “Since flu can cause severe illness in people of all ages, we encourage everyone to talk to their doctor to learn more and get vaccinated. Vaccination is our best defense against the flu.”

Ensuring the safety and comfort of the student body is something that Kauai Complex-Area Superintendent Bill Arakaki holds dear.

Arakaki told The Garden Island that these services are “critical” students who cannot afford or who may not have access to these medical services, otherwise.

“Some families may not want it, but it’s available to them to protect them from and flu and other things that can come up,” he said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu vaccination for everyone six months and older, according to a release from the DOH.

“I think for Kauai being such an island community, it’s critical that we have have these kind of resources for those families that can’t take advantage of that,” Arakaki said.

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