Experts weigh advisability of school-based flu shots

first_imgNov 19, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Earlier this year the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) broadened its flu vaccine recommendation to include all school-age children, prompting some health officials to eye school-based immunization programs as an efficient way to improve vaccination rates in young people.Federal health officials have said children bear a significant burden of seasonal flu and that reducing flu transmission among children may limit virus spread among household contacts and in the community. Also, they point out that vaccinating school-age children could reduce the need for medical care and curb school absenteeism.The new recommendation, which includes children from ages 5 through 18 years, adds 30 million children to the CDC’s target group, poses a big challenge for the healthcare system because the vaccine season is limited and many young people don’t regularly visit doctor’s offices, where many people typically get their yearly flu shots. Some experts question whether school-based flu vaccination programs lower healthcare costs. Though research findings on the costs and benefits have been mixed, a multistate trial earlier this year that factored in household protection benefits suggested that such programs were cost-effective.A snapshot of school-based effortsOver the past few years, a variety of schools and districts have hosted immunization programs—some as pilot projects and some working toward more permanent programs.Last year Hawaii became the first state in the nation to offer free flu vaccines to its children in elementary and middle schools, vaccinating 60,000 students and 9,000 faculty and staff at 340 public and private schools, according to an Aug 6 Hawaii Department of Health press release. That state’s “Stop Flu at School” program includes a long list of partners, including state agencies, professional groups, university departments, healthcare organizations, and vaccine companies.In early November, the East Baton Rouge (Louisiana) Parish school district launched its first influenza vaccine program, a state pilot program that hopes to vaccinate close to 40% of the student population, according to a Nov 6 statement from the district. Vaccines will be administered by a contractor that provides medical care at the schools as well as volunteers from Southeastern Louisiana University’s school of nursing. The cost of immunizations for qualifying students is covered through the CDC’s Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, with the remainder covered by a donation from a local hospital foundation.In Aurora, Colo., hospitals in the Anschutz Medical Campus’ Adopt-a-School program recently offered free flu shots to students and staff at two local elementary schools, according to a Nov 13 report from the Aurora Sentinel.One district’s experienceIn 2005, MedImmune, maker of FluMist, approached more than a dozen US sites to test the feasibility of school-based immunizations, said John Lott, director of nursing at the Knox County (Tennessee) Department of Health, who supervises the area’s school immunization programs. Local schools are keenly aware of how severely flu can impact schools, he said. In 2004, the area experienced school closures due to the illness.In 2005 Knox County’s pilot program included 81 public schools with a goal of immunizing 54,000 children over a 4-week period. “We were their (MedImmune’s) largest project, and our vaccination rate was 46%,” he said, adding that the company challenged the county to exceed that number in 2006.Last year, the county continued the school-based immunizations on its own by cobbling together some vaccine from the VFC program, funding for staffing and vaccine purchase from the county, and assistance from school nurses. However, the vaccination rates were difficult to sustain because of the extra burden on schools and their nurses. “It’s a challenge trying to find a sustainable model,” he said.Despite the difficulties, Lott says he has seen other benefits for schools beyond just improved vaccination rates. Over the past 4 years, Knox County hasn’t had to close any of its schools, even though surrounding areas have. Financial support for schools is often based on daily attendance, he said, so healthy students can have bottom-line benefits for their schools, he said.Lott said he and his colleagues have learned useful lessons from their experiences with school-based immunization. For example, he said it’s easier to exceed 60% vaccination rates in K-5 elementary schools because the paperwork channels for items such as vaccine consent forms are more reliable with this age-group. Rates drop to about 45% in middle schools, then fall off to about 25% to 30% in high schools. With limited resources for school-based vaccination drives, healthcare officials have to make tough decisions about what age-groups to target.Realistic expectations for schoolsDiane Peterson, an editor for the National Influenza Vaccine Summit’s Web site and associate director for immunization projects at the Immunization Action Coalition, based in St Paul, said it’s a tall order to expect schools to help host immunization clinics during school hours. “From my experience, schools are just stretched beyond compare with staffing and tight budgets,” she said.Schools are also feeling pressured to pass No Child Left Behind testing requirements, so many of them aren’t too eager to take time away from learning activities, Peterson said.Strategizing how to meet the CDC’s flu vaccine recommendation for school-age kids is difficult, she said. “The best way would be to make it part of a mandate, but schools are up to their ears with mandates.”One option might be to have schools serve more simply as convenient sites for flu shot clinics, Peterson said, adding that school nurses have suggested that public health officials hold after-school immunization clinics at schools. “Then it would be a family program that could vaccinate parents, too. Schools like that,” she said. “We have to think of different models for getting this done.”Peterson said she was part of a National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) group that recently met to discuss options relating to school-based immunization programs. She said NACCHO hopes to develop some model programs to help local groups navigate the issues and implement immunization programs for school-age children.See also:Mar 5 CIDRAP News story “Flu immunizations for children will pose big challenge”Jan 31 CIDRAP News story “Study: school-based immunizations save money”Aug 6 Hawaii Department of Health press releaselast_img read more

Banora Point home has a backyard with a nature reserve and a view from the top

first_img7 Westwood St Banora PointWith a nature reserve over the back fence the property is described by McGrath Coolangatta and Tweed agents Chris and Kelly Holt as a tranquil retreat. The mother-of-two said the access to the nature reserve is a house down and is very popular for the family.“There is a concrete staircase that leads into the reserve and there is a creek in there which the kids love to play in.” The four-bedroom contemporary home is located in the Sanctuary Park estate and is poised on a 635sq m block and has an open floor plan that creates a seamless flow out onto the timber deck. 7 Westwood St Banora Point“The kids have the downstairs to themselves.“Jerard and I really didn’t look at too many homes when we wanted to buy because we were very certain of moving into this particular estate, it is close to schools and shops and the kids could make friends in the area.” Westwood St Banora Point“We love the views from the top deck,” Mrs Robinson said.More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North9 hours ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa1 day agoThe couple bought the home four years to raise their two children and said they were attracted to the open plan living but were sold on the family friendly neighbourhood. “This house was definitely one for the family, there are separate outdoor entertaining spaces so I can have a coffee in peace and the kids can have their own space to play.center_img 7 Westwood St Banora PointTHIS Banora Point home commands the street with a modern facade and a well-manicured garden but the backyard is all decked-out for entertaining. Three timber decks and an in-ground swimming pool create the perfect setting for a Sunday barbecue at 7 Westwood St, according to homeowners Kristin and Jerard Robinson. last_img read more

Batesville’s Wes McKinney

first_imgWes McKinney, a 2014 graduate of Batesville High School, is now a freshman at Hanover College.  He was recently named the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year.  McKinney, a forward on the Hanover basketball team, ranked 3rd on the Panthers team in scoring during conference play, averaging 10.9 points per game and 4.2 rebounds.  McKinney was an all-conference player while at Batesville High School.Some of you may recognize the name Toby Carrigan (Rising Sun) who now is Mount St. Joseph’s head basketball coach.  He was named the Heartland Collegiate Coach of the Year.  His leading scorer is a graduate of South Dearborn High School, Joel Scudder.We want to congratulate all of these southeastern Indiana basketball alumni for their honors in the Heartland Conference.last_img read more

U-23 AFCON: “We have a winning mentality”- Ghana coach Ibrahim Tanko

first_imgBlack Meteors head coach, Ibrahim Tanko, says that his and his team have developed a winning way of thinking as they get ready for the U-23 AFCON in Egypt this month.The team will head to Egypt on Monday ahead of the tournament which starts on November 8 and their aim will be to grab one of the three tickets allocated to Africa for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics football tournament.To do so, they will have to first go past the group stages where they will face Cameroon, Mali and Egypt.Tanko believes that they are not worried about about the task at hand and they are driven to succeed in Egypt.“We have only one mindset and that is making it to the Olympics. The players and the technical team know what lies ahead of us.We are ready and we will go there to prepare. We have a few days to polish what we are doing before playing the first match. We have to win every match if we are going to be successful and that is our mindset as we go to Egypt.”Ghana will face Cameroon in their first group match on November before facing Egypt on November 11 and Mali on November 15.The Black Meteors will have to finish in the top three places in the competition if they will make their first appearance in the Olympic football tournament since 2004.last_img read more

Ghana’s qualification caps Assifuah’s 20th birthday bash

first_imgOn the morning Ghana’s crucial Round of 16 clash against Portugal at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, striker, Ebenezer Assifuah had turned 20.After cutting the cake in a subdued party on Wednesday, high up on his list of wishes was his desire to see Ghana through.But the party really got started when Richmond Boakye-Yiadom scored from a free-kick with five minutes remaining to hand Ghana a 3-2 win and a place in the quarter-finals.This is the fifth time Ghana has reached the quarters in the competition and it capped Assifuah’s birthday bash back at the team’s hotel in Kayseri.“Yes, the party will go on. We are happy and full of enthusiasm. We are confident we can go even further,” said a smiling Joseph Attamah, a teammate of Assifuah.Ghana will now leave Kayseri and head for Istanbul, where they will play against Chile in the quarter-finals.last_img read more