SOMERSWORTH, September15, 2016 — This fall, many area schools are hosting free school-based flu clinics. The clinics give families and educators the option of a convenient, no-cost, flu shot for students resulting in a healthier flu season with fewer absences.
“Eleven clinics covering 13 Strafford County Schools are signed-up. This means hundreds of local kids will be better equipped to fight cold and flu this winter, with less school absences, less parent absences from work and fewer trips to the doctor,” says Elizabeth Clark, Community Health Improvement Coordinator at Goodwin Community Health. “An important change for schools and parents to be aware of is the nasal mist is no longer available. The flu vaccine in the form of a shot is proving to be much more effective in preventing the flu.”
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has stopped use of the nasal vaccine during the 2016/2017 flu season because new statistics show it was not as effective as the shot last year. As a result, the vaccine offered at the school-based flu clinics this year will only be in shot form. The flu shot vaccine reduces the chance of getting the flu –and preventing its complications – by over 60%.
This service is a result of a partnership between the Strafford County Public Health Network, Goodwin Community Health, and local schools. All vaccinations are optional, require written parental consent and takes place during the school day. Licensed and trained medical professionals from Goodwin Community Health and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Nursing Program will give all vaccines.
According to the New Hampshire Immunization Program, everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year as soon as the current season’s vaccines are available to stay protected against the most current and common flu strains. Anyone can catch influenza, but rates of infection are highest among children and it is important children get vaccinated.
Participating schools will send home a required consent form that must be signed and returned to the school. Details, dates and parent consent forms for scheduled flu clinics can be found at www.goodwinch.org/no-cost-school-flu-clinics/ or on school websites. Influenza information can also be obtained through the NH Immunization Program at (800) 852-3345, ext. 4482 or through schools nurses. Administrators can contact Elizabeth Clark at Goodwin Community Health, eclark@GoodwinCH.org, 603-994-2597, for information on school based clinics.
About Goodwin Community Health
Goodwin Community Health is the only 501(c)(3) Community Health Center serving the Greater Strafford County area of New Hampshire and Maine. We make it affordable for local people to access the wellness services and quality primary care that lead to good Physical, Dental, Prenatal and Behavioral Health. Goodwin Community Health operates on the same principles Mrs. Avis Goodwin started the organization on 47 years ago – everyone deserves access to quality health care, at an affordable price. For more information connect with us on Facebook, at www.GoodwinCH.org or visit Goodwin Community Health Center in Somersworth, New Hampshire.