Even with a flu shot, it’s possible to still be diagnosed with the flu, according to the CDC. Exposure to a flu virus can happen before getting vaccinated or during the two-week period after receiving a flu shot.
The school system began offering flu shots after the H1N1 pandemic, also known as the swine flu, broke out in 2009.
The flu shots are funded by the Vaccine For Children, a federally funded program that provides free vaccinations for children, and by health insurance companies contributions, Bassett said.
Flu symptoms in children include either bluish or gray skin, faster or troubled breathing, irritability , a fever and a rash, not drinking enough fluids or not waking up or interaction, according to the state’s health department.
Consent forms are due at each student’s school by Sept. 21. The forms can be printed out from the school system’s website.
While flu vaccinations are not mandatory for students, certain vaccinations are in order for student to be allowed into a school building.
In order to attend a county school, all students must have the required State of Maryland immunizations that are needed for their age group. The various vaccines include measles, mumps, chickenpox, polio, meningitis, hepatitis b, human papillomavirus, known as and tdap, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.
Parents must provide proof of a student’s immunization prior to the student attending the school or documentation of an appointment scheduled for within 20 days calendar days of the first day of school. All county schools opened Sept. 4.
“If they [students] don’t have the proper vaccines by that date they can’t be allowed into the building,” Bassett said. “It’s a legal obligation.”
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When asked of past instances where a student was not properly vaccinated, none came to mind for Bassett. However, schools dofollow up with families until the deadline, Bassett said.
The school system helps families receive vaccinations, including connecting residents with the Howard County Health Department that offers two back to school free vaccination clinics each September.
For at least 20 years, the health department has provided vaccinations for children entering kindergarten and the seventh grade, according to Matt Wilson, a health department spokesman.
Earlier this month, 111 children attended one of two vaccination clinics , Wilson said in an email. An additional 123 students received the needed vaccinations in May, when the health department got a head start on the 2018-2019 vaccinations, according to Wilson.