Alachua County wins national award for flu immunizationhttp://www.gainesville.com/article/2011 ... munization
Overall, in the 2010-11 school year:
- 48 percent of Alachua County's elementary school students were immunized.
- 36 percent of the middle school students received the nose mist.
- 16 percent of the high school students opted for the immunization.
According to the CDC, on average, more than 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized each year for respiratory and heart conditions illnesses associated with seasonal influenza virus infections. Officials there say they do not know the exact number of deaths each year from the flu because it is often a contributing factor, but not listed as the main cause.
Dr. Parker Small Jr., professor emeritus at UF's College of Medicine and the Emerging Pathogens Institute, was also involved in the program.
“By immunizing children, you really can protect the community,” Small said. “If we can immunize 70 percent of kids, that will protect the entire community.”
He said pediatricians reported to him that they simply didn't see anywhere near as many flu cases this school year.
Small said he wants Alachua County to be the first community to be able to prove beyond a doubt that immunization prevents the flu, and the institute has taken the next step toward doing just that. It is vying for a $5 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention so doctors can test children who get sick to determine if it's a cold or the flu.