Teachers encouraged to get free flu shots
by Mark Andrews
Oct 03, 2011 | 1796 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This past Friday, teachers at Allatoona Elementary School had the opportunity to receive free flu shots, and students across Bartow County will soon have the opportunity to receive free vaccines as well based on a schedule at their respective school.

"What we're trying to do is basically provide a service for the teachers," said Rite-Aid pharmacist Craig Hill, who was providing the shots at AES. "... With the cutbacks and the government, we're just trying to make sure everybody has the chance to be immunized and studies show the number one spreader of flu or anything like that is the children, and so [teachers] are probably exposed as much as healthcare workers to flu and colds and any other [illness] we're susceptible to.

"We're trying to target businesses or churches or schools, and one of our pharmacists, Tony Kincannon, was on the [Bartow County Board of Education] and so he made a couple of phone calls and they were positive about the response to us coming to the schools," Hill said.

He said one of the reasons behind providing the shots to teachers as well as other entities in the community is to inform and educate about the flu virus and misconceptions about the flu shot.

"A lot of people just really don't understand how [the flu shot] works. The flu shot injections are inactive flu vaccines, or dead vaccines, and once injected into the body the body replicates the flu vaccine and it actually takes about a two-week period for you to be covered by the vaccine," Hill said. "There is some possibility of within one or two days getting a slight fever and some body aches ... but it is an inactive vaccine, so you're not actually getting the flu from the vaccine."

Hill sad it was important for adults to be vaccinated because of the risk of spreading the illness to a child.

"People who are grandparents ... and new parents need to be vaccinated because they might be spreading [the flu] to their children, and you really need to think about spreading to someone else or getting it from someone else," Hill said. "A grandparent who might normally be in good health may get it, so everybody really needs to be vaccinated if they can."

He added, "And we've been shown about 90 percent of the insurances are actually paying for it and people aren't aware of that, and so it's no cost for them. The easiest thing to do is go to your pharmacy and say, 'this is my insurance,' and see if you're covered."

According to the Bartow County Board of Education website, students in Cartersville and Bartow can receive either the Flumist intranasal influenza virus vaccine or the inactivated injectable influenza virus vaccine during the month of October. A permission form has previously been available for parents.

Calls to the Bartow County Public Health Department and Northwest Georgia Public Health regarding opportunities for teachers to receive free flu shots at their respective school were not returned at press time.