|Knox County Officials Announce Flu Prevention Initiative with Walgreeens
| September 20, 2012 -
Knox County officials are pleased to announce its partnership with Walgreens to help vaccinate
Knox County high school students against the flu. Walgreens has always been active in the
community and with the Knox County Schools, and this year they are donating flu vaccinations
to the first 3,000 high school students who come into their local Walgreens or Take Care Clinic.
Walgreens' generous donation has a monetary value of $100,000.
"Walgreens' good corporate citizenship is the perfect example of how public/private partnerships
benefit the community," said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. "This partnership allows Knox
County to extend the reach of the Health Department's in-school FluMist program and keep
even more kids healthy."
The donated vaccine is intended for high school students, which aren't currently part of the inschool
clinic program due to lack of resources. Walgreens' participation ensures underinsured,
uninsured and insured students the opportunity to be protected against influenza. Students with
insurance are asked to provide that information when requesting their vaccine. No cost will be
passed along to the student.
The Walgreens donation also benefits the community in other ways. Just two months ago, Knox
County Health Department announced funding changes on the federal and state level that
negatively impacted the School-located Influenza Vaccination Clinics (commonly known as the
FluMist program). In recent years, high schools have not been included as school-located flu
vaccination sites (free flu shots are available to all students at any KCHD location) due to lack of
resources and low participation rates in the high schools. Walgreens' vaccination donation
allows Knox County to expand the FluMist program outside its current parameters and protect
"Knox County Health Department is fortunate to have many valuable community partners and
we are very happy to add Walgreens to the list of organizations stepping up to help children,"
said Dr. Martha Buchanan, KCHD director. "Walgreens' management has been very
enthusiastic about getting involved and innovative in their approach to improving flu vaccination
rates among children."
Three thousand high school students can receive a flu vaccination at any Knox County
Walgreens or Take Care Clinic location simply by showing their student ID and presenting the
Vaccine Administration Record - click here for Vaccine Administration Record form in PDF format.
"We're proud to work with county officials on a program that can help keep students healthy
throughout the flu season, while also improving immunization rates for influenza in the
community," said Scott Leslie, Walgreens pharmacy supervisor.
"Walgreens is an enthusiastic participant in the Knox County Schools Partners in Education
program and we greatly appreciate their engagement and support over the years," said Dr. Jim
McIntyre, Superintendent of the Knox County Schools. "This significant contribution will help
keep our high school students healthy and assist us in providing a safe, healthy, inviting
learning environment for all our children."
"As a parent, I know one of the advantages of the in-school flu vaccinations is the convenience:
parents don't have to take time off work to get their children immunized," said John Lott, KCHD
clinical services director. "With so many locations and extended hours, Walgreens participation
will be a very convenient option for high school kids to get protected from flu."
Knox County's School-located Influenza Vaccination Clinics (FluMist program) have
successfully reduced the amount of flu in the community over the last seven years. Studies
have shown - and this community's experience has borne out - that vaccinating children
against influenza keeps them healthy and has a ripple effect through the community that
protects young and old alike. Since the inception of the school flu vaccination program eight
years ago, only one Knox County school has closed due to flu, and that was in the early days of
the H1N1 pandemic due to CDC protocol which was later changed.
"Closing schools due to illness has repercussions throughout the community," Lott continued.
"The impact encompasses lost learning opportunities, lost wages for parents who stay home to
care for the sick and lost revenue - not to mention the terrible burden of disease on our
Flu immunization not only prevents the flu, but reduces overall respiratory illness rates, lost
works days and doctor visits. Overall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, having a flu vaccination saves every person $47, three times the cost of getting your
child vaccinated at school. The average person loses $92 a year in wages from sick days. Every
year, the flu causes American workers to miss up to 70 million workdays, or the lifetime work of
6,137 American workers.
Knox County's in-school influenza vaccination program began in 2004 and was underwritten
through a grant from MedImmune, the makers of FluMist, an intranasal flu vaccine which
requires no needles. Through careful resource management, public health officials were able to
utilize the MedImmune money for more than one year. After that, KCHD leveraged federal and
state vaccination programs which provided free vaccine for children to keep the program viable.
Suddenly last spring, the federal and state programs which had provided the free vaccine were
greatly reduced, leaving the program's future in jeopardy.
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