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School flu shot program begins despite hiccups


Tribune-Herald staff writer

Hawaii epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park plans on garnering more sustainable funding for the state’s annual Stop Flu at School Program that started Tuesday.

The program, which provides free flu vaccinations for 300 public, private, and charter schools statewide until Nov. 27, continues to struggle for funding, despite entering its seventh successful year.

“As a result of the sequester, we did see major cuts to vaccine funds and operational funds, which presented some challenges and added more pressures for both my staff and myself” she said.

The ongoing government shutdown has also created hurdles for the state Department of Health program. Park said her office is currently trying to ascertain how they will get vaccines and supplies to and from the clinics, since government furloughs have interfered with the hiring of drivers who transport the supplies.

Park still plans to have the clinics running smoothly.

“This program will continue, come hell or high water,” she said. “We’re going to complete the program as planned, and we’re still the only state to offer this type of service to all its families.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the voluntary school-based program that offers free nasal mists or shots has the highest success rate in the nation within its age cohort, which includes children between the ages of 5 and 13.

Annette Arruda, health aide at Waiakea Elementary School, contends the program has been invaluable over the past few years.

“The program has been very beneficial, not just for the students but for the staff and teachers because they’re able to get the shots, as well,” she said.

According to Arruda, 550 students and teachers received vaccines last year. The school’s student population totals 881.

According to a press release, the DOH will vaccinate more than 60,000 students during the six-week program. Volunteers from the Hawaii Medical Reserve Corps, state Department of Defense, Kaiser Permanente, University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Pharmacy, nursing programs at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hawaii Pacific University, Kapiolani Community College, Chaminade University, UH-Hilo, Kauai County Community College, and UH-Maui College will assist in its operation.

For more information about the Stop Flu at School program, go to, or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

Email Megan Moseley at


Oct. 15 Christian Liberty Academy School

Oct. 15 Holualoa Elementary

Oct. 15 Keonepoko Elementary

Oct. 16 Mountain View Elementary

Oct. 16 Innovations Public Charter School

Oct. 16 Kohala Middle

Oct. 16 Kohala Mission School

Oct. 17 Konawaena Elementary

Oct. 17 Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School

Oct. 17 Honokaa High & Intermediate

Oct. 22 DeSilva Elementary

Oct. 22 Hualalai Academy

Oct. 22 West Hawaii Explorations Public Charter School

Oct. 22 Kaumana Elementary

Oct. 23 Kapiolani Elementary

Oct. 23 Kealakehe Intermediate

Oct. 24 Ke Kula Nawahiokalaniopuu Iki Lab Public Charter School

Oct. 24 Waimea Elementary

Oct. 24 Haaheo Elementary

Oct. 25 Keaukaha Elementary

Oct. 25 Ke Ana Laahana Public Charter School

Oct. 25 Ka Umeke Kaeo Public Charter School

Oct. 25 Konawaena Middle

Oct. 29 Honaunau Elementary

Oct. 29 Kalanianaole Elementary & Intermediate

Oct. 30 Hookena Elementary

Oct. 30 Keaau Elementary

Oct. 31 Hawaii Preparatory Academy

Nov. 1 Hilo Union Elementary

Nov. 1 Ke Kula o Ehunuikaimalino

Nov. 1 Naalehu Elementary & Intermediate

Nov. 5 Connections NCPCS

Nov. 5 E Makaala School

Nov. 6 Waimea Country School

Nov. 6 Pahoa Elementary

Nov. 6 Pahoa High & Intermediate

Nov. 7 Parker School (Big Island)

Nov. 7 Kanu o ka Aina NCPCS

Nov. 7 Waiakeawaena Elementary

Nov. 8 Kahakai Elementary

Nov. 8 Ka‘u High & Pahala Elementary

Nov. 13 Haili Christian School

Nov. 13 Kealakehe Elementary

Nov. 13 Mauna Loa School (Big Island)

Nov. 14 Waikoloa Elementary & Middle

Nov. 14 Paauilo Elementary & Intermediate

Nov. 15 Kohala Elementary

Nov. 15 St. Joseph School (Big Island)

Nov. 15 Volcano School of Arts & Sciences Public Charter School

Nov. 19 Keaau Middle

Nov. 19 Waters of Life NCPCS

Nov. 20 Waiakea Elementary

Nov. 20 Waimea Middle PCCS

Nov. 21 Hilo Intermediate

Nov. 22 Honokaa Elementary

Nov. 26 Waiakea Intermediate

Nov. 27 Kamehameha Schools — Hawaii Campus


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