Taylor-Alexis Brandon, 10, gets a flu shot at Greenbrier Middle School from the Columbia County Health Department.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Evans Middle School will be the site of a flu-shot clinic Monday that Columbia County health officials hope will help prevent another outbreak like the one they saw last winter.
The shots have been offered to county employees every year, but this year the health department is extending their outreach to students and parents, said Columbia County Health Department facility administrator Phyllis Roland.
"Since they had such a big outbreak in the student population last year, we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to let parents know that the influenza vaccine is recommended for children - especially those with high-risk conditions - starting at 6 months of age," Roland said. "We would like to promote it and make it more readily available to them."
Earlier this year, Columbia County had the first confirmed cases of influenza B in the state. The illness first appeared in middle schools in mid-January before spreading throughout the system and pushing absentee rates at some schools to 26 percent.
Eventually, large numbers of absences were reported in several elementary schools and at Greenbrier High School, which is next to Greenbrier Middle School. A Greenbrier High School 10th-grade girl, who already had health problems, died in March from complications from the flu.
There are three remaining flu clinics scheduled at county schools in the coming weeks. The shots are being offered at a cost of $15. Parents can call the school or sign up in the school office. Students under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Upcoming clinics will be held at the following locations:
* Evans Middle School, 863-2275, Monday, 2-6 p.m.
* Grovetown Middle School, 855-2514, Thursday, 2-6 p.m.
* Lakeside Middle School, 855-6900, Nov. 3, 2-6 p.m.
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