SE Minnesota counties collaborate on vaccine program this school year

(ABC 6 News) – Many counties across southeast Minn. are collaborating on an immunization program to get children vaccinated ahead of school year this fall.

Olmsted Medical Center (OMC), Olmsted County Public Health Services (OCPHS), Dodge County Public Health (DCPH), Goodhue County Public Health, and area private and public schools have teamed up once again to help families get vaccinations in order.

“We are thrilled to join OMC, Mayo Clinic, and our fellow county public health agencies in this collaborative effort,” said DCPH Director Amy Evans. “By offering influenza vaccinations at multiples schools, we will be safeguarding the health and well-being of our students, families, and the broader community this flu season.”

According to Olmsted County officials, influenza vaccinations will be offered at most schools in Olmsted County, Hayfield, Kasson-Mantorville, and Triton Public Schools in Dodge County as well as Pine Island Public Schools.

The immunizations will take place Sept. 18 trough Oct. 13 this fall.

“Strong collaboration and a shared commitment to the well-being of our youth form the foundation of healthy communities,” stated OCPHS Nurse Manager for Disease Prevention and Control Leah Espinda-Brandt. “With our collective efforts, we are proud to offer our youth the vital protection they need to reduce the risk of illness this season for themselves and their community.” 

Officials say that school-located vaccines are fast, easy and convenient for parents and children to make sure everyone stays healthy this year.

Mayo Clinic and OMC nurses will administer the flu vaccine to children in the schools. The flue vaccine will be the same as one that’s given in clinics. This will be offered as a shot or a nasal spray if available.

This is not a free vaccine and it will be billed directly to the child’s insurance as well as be recorded in the child’s medical records.

“Parents love the school influenza immunization program! The children find support from their classmates and don’t miss school to get the vaccine they need,” noted Mayo Clinic Primary Care in Southeast Minnesota Immunization Program Medical Director Robert M. Jacobson, M.D. 

According to a press release, children will be offered non-medication, pain-reducing topical coolant sprays and other distractions to reduce pain from the shot.

Registration is required for the vaccine, which opens up online beginning Tuesday, Aug. 9. This will remain open through Sept. 13, 2023 until it closes at 11 p.m.

Paper forms to register will be available at schools.

For more information, including the list of schools participating in the School-Located Immunization Program and how to register, click here.