SE MN counties collaborate on school-located flu vaccine program

(ABC 6 News) – Several southeastern Minnesota county public health departments are teaming up with schools to offer kids influenza vaccinations in an effort to keep the virus out of the classroom for the upcoming school year.

Olmsted Medical Center, Mayo Clinic, Olmsted County Public Health, Dodge County Public Health, Goodhue County Public Health, and area private and public schools will offer influenza vaccinations at most schools throughout Olmsted County, Mower County, Kasson/Mantorville public schools in Dodge County, and Pine Island public schools.

These immunizations will take place September 19 through October 14, 2022.

“We are striving to make the influenza vaccine more easily available to all school children. Vaccination of school-aged children is the most effective way to prevent outbreaks of influenza within the school setting and the community,” says Robert M. Jacobson, M.D., medical director, Primary Care in Southeast Minnesota Immunization Program at Mayo Clinic. “Furthermore, preventing fever, cough and colds means preventing COVID-19 testing and quarantine.”

School-located vaccines are fast, easy and convenient for both parents and children to keep influenza out of the classroom. Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center nurses will administer the flu vaccine to children in the schools.

The flu vaccine is the same as the one given in the clinic and will be offered as a shot or as a nasal spray as available. The cost of the vaccine will be billed directly to the child’s insurance and recorded in the child’s electronic medical record.

Nursing staff will offer non-medication, pain-reducing, topical coolant sprays, and other distractions proven to reduce pain when children receive the influenza shot.

Registration is required to receive the flu vaccine. Online registration begins August 10 and parents can register their children until September 14.

Online registration is preferred; however, paper forms are available at schools. Registration forms will not be accepted after 11 p.m. on September 14.

For more information, including the schools participating in the School-Located Immunization Program and how to register, go to the Southeast Minnesota Immunization Connection website by clicking HERE.