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Houston County Schools and health department offer free flu shots for students and staff

The school system and health department have teamed up for more than a decade to give free flu shots

HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. — The Houston County School District has teamed up with the county health department to offer free flu shots for students and staff members for over a decade.

But this year is a little bit different because some students opted to do remote learning.

Houston County Health Department Nurse Manager Christina Sikes heads the partnership with the school district to offer free flu shots for students and employees. It started over 10 years ago

"Through a coalition that was formed in Houston County called the Hot Shots Coalition, and the coalition worked together to get some funding to get some vaccines for children who were not able to afford or were uninsured," Sikes said.

Dana Rollins, the coordinator of health related services, says if a student brings a completed consent form, then they can get their free flu shot. They can bring health insurance information, but it's not required

"The health department at the school actually checks those forms to make sure that the child can safely receive the vaccine at school and then which one, whether it's insurance or state-based vaccine they get," Rollins said.

This year, in addition to the shots at school, they have a flu shot site at the Houston County Health Department for virtual learning students.

"It is drive-thru, so the child will be able to safely stay in their vehicle. We will have nursing staff and medical monitoring staff out in the area to give them the vaccines," Sikes said.

Sikes says with the COVID-19 risk already there, it's important to get your flu shot this year. They're hoping for a big turnout.

"Each year, on average, we give out 4,500-4,700 flu vaccines to children in the school system. It does vary from year to year, I think last year was one of the better years that we've had, and we had a better high school turnout last year than we had in previous years," Sikes said.

The drive-thru flu clinics are happening this week only. You can go to the Houston County Health Department this Thursday and Friday between 3-5 p.m.

Flu shots will be offered at the schools starting on October 30 at Lindsey Elementary. Here's the full schedule of locations, sites, and a link to the consent form.

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