Getting the Flu Shot at School

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At a time when it's tough to find a pharmacy that has the flu shot in our area, schools have been providing relief for families.
In fact, thousands of students in the Washoe County School District have already been immunized thanks to clinics that are taking place on campus. The shots are free and parents don't even need to be there.

The school clinics are put on through a coordinated effort between the Washoe County School District, the Washoe County Health District, and Immunize Nevada.

Sparks, NV - At Diedrichsen Elementary, 135 students received the flu vaccine during a free shot clinic Thursday morning. Linda Rose, the school nurse there, says it turned out well. She says parents think of these clinics as a "win-win" because they're so convenient.

At Moss Elementary in Sparks, there was another free shot clinic. 173 students were getting the flu shot or mist - and that's about one-third of the student body there.

"It's a very simple process," says Tina Vesely, of Immunize Nevada, who was instrumental in coordinating the clinics. "Parents fill out the paperwork and send it off with their kids and we show up and immunize them."

She says it couldn't be more convenient for parents.

"They're in school and we're catching them while they're here," says Vesely.

These clinics come at a time when families are having a tough time just finding the vaccine at local pharmacies. We called several pharmacies in Northwest Reno that admitted they ran out earlier this week because of the high demand. They have some shots available now, but only a limited amount.

Heidi Julius, nurse manager for the Washoe County School District, says the district has been making these school flu clinics available for three years.

"It decreases their chances of getting sick and it also keeps them in school and keeps them learning. And that's our ultimate goal in the school district, to keep them in school and keep them learning," she says.

Students can only participate in these clinics if their school has chosen to take part. About 40 schools in the Washoe County School District have chosen to participate this year. Most of the clinics already took place in the fall - and so far this school year, thousands of students have been immunized. When schools do intend to hold these shot clinics, they send a packet of information home with students to let their parents know about the event and students must bring back a signed permission form to take part.

If your child's school is not participating or it has already passed, not to worry. Immunize Nevada is working on organizing more shot clinics in the spring. They're planning to give TDAP shots to sixth graders. They are hoping there will still be enough flu vaccine available so they can offer those as well.