State amends school flu shot program due to limited resources

Health experts detest the idea that some schools will not offer the flu shots this year. According to the Hawaii Department of Health, the Stop Flu at School scheme will be scaled back, and the vaccine will not be given at any private school and some public schools.

What could cause the program change?

The state attributes such change to inability to fund and maintain the program due to inadequate resources. Health experts are pointing at the effect of such change in program – more sick adults and children.

For the past ten years, the flu shots have been given to about 65,000 students between the ages of 5 and 13 yearly. While private schools have been told that the flu shots will not get to them this year, the health officials are yet to give any information on the public schools that will get the flu shot programs.

KHON2 has been urging the DOH to release more detail information on what will happen to the program, but officials are taking their time to gather information before further statements.
The department said in a statement that its making arrangement with the Department of Education to arrange statewide participation of public schools in the 2017-2018 flu season program. DOH hopes to kick off with the program again this fall with some amendments due to limited resources and funding reductions.
A pediatrician with the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, Dr. Marian Melish, who is also a pediatrician at the University Of Hawaii John A. Burns School Of Medicine, said she and other pediatricians are astonished at the announcement. Melich added that she’s worried that there will be more cases of influenza circulation among school kid, and will, in turn, affect adults.

Melish went on to say that vaccination helps children stay strong for adults and children. She said the many cases of influenza on the mainland hadn’t affected them because of the vaccination so far.
Though medical insurance covers the cost of the vaccine, DOH says about $2 million is spent yearly on the prevention program. KHON2 reached out to the chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee, state Rep. John Mizuno, who pointed out that the program is not worth any tamper. He stressed that more would be spent in the event of a sick community, and called for subsidy on the vaccinations. Mizuno added that it’s all about health, and should be treated as a priority.

Parents are encouraged to take their children to a pharmacy or a doctor to get their flu shot, and more information will be released about the amendments on the program.