Protect Hawaii’s Keiki: Stop Flu at School program is offering free flu vaccine in 329 public, private, and charter schools this fall.

“By vaccinating our children against the flu, we can help reduce the number of lost school days due to illness,” Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona said. “The continuing success of this program shows that we are better prepared than many other states because we have the systems in place to quickly disperse vaccine to our community.”

The voluntary statewide program, now in its fourth year, aims to prevent the spread of flu among schoolchildren and their families.

Last year, the program immunized more than 70,000 children statewide, a 16 percent increase since the program began. In addition, 9,940 school faculty and staff took advantage of the free program.

A separate round of vaccinations was held last year to address health concerns for the H1N1 pandemic. The state provided 66,000 additional vaccinations to students, faculty and staff to inoculate against the H1N1 flu virus.

This year, students will only have to receive one type of flu vaccine because the regular seasonal flu vaccine will contain a 2009 H1N1-like component.

This year, the Stop Flu at School program will begin dispensing vaccinations statewide Oct. 12.

Visit www.stopfluatschool.com or call Aloha United Way’s 2-1-1 hotline for a list of participating schools and clinic dates as well as other information regarding the program.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone receive a flu vaccine, especially children, pregnant women, asthma patients and those with diabetes and other chronic conditions.

For more information, consult your doctor or visit www.flu.gov

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