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Multi-county flu vaccination effort ramps up again

Registration underway for participating schools in Dodge, Goodhue, Mower and Olmsted counties.

Public health experts encourage everyone who is able to get a flu shot this year, and a local effort is seeking to ensure students in four Southeast Minnesota counties have access to vaccinations.
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ROCHESTER — Collaborative efforts are again targeting the spread of the flu virus among students in Dodge, Goodhue, Mower and Olmsted counties.

Olmsted Medical Center, Mayo Clinic, Olmsted County Public Health, Dodge County Public Health, Goodhue County Public Health, and area private and public schools have once again teamed up to offer influenza vaccinations at most schools throughout Olmsted County, Mower County, Kasson/Mantorville public schools in Dodge County, and Pine Island public schools.

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The immunizations will take place Sept. 19 through Oct. 14.

“Every year we look forward to providing the flu vaccine to our youth at a location that is convenient to them and their families,” said Nurse Manager for Disease Prevention and Control at Olmsted County Public Health Leah Espinda-Brandt. “Our continued collaborative effort allows us to provide opportunities to distribute flu immunization more broadly to the children in our community.”

The annual influenza vaccinations seek to prevent the spread of the virus in school settings, which in turn limits the chance students will carry the virus home to their families.


Olmsted County Public Health reports research finds that although a healthy adult has around a 7% chance of getting influenza any given season, school children have an approximately 20% chance of getting sick each year.

School-located vaccines are designed to be fast, easy and convenient for parents and students. Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center nurses will administer the flu vaccines to children in the schools.

The flu vaccine is the same as the one given in the clinic and will be offered as a shot or as a nasal spray as available. The cost of the vaccine will be billed directly to the child’s insurance and recorded in the child’s electronic medical record.

Nursing staff will also offer non-medication, pain-reducing, topical coolant sprays, and other distractions proven to reduce pain when children receive the influenza shot.

“We are striving to make the influenza vaccine more easily available to all school children. Vaccination of school-aged children is the most effective way to prevent outbreaks of influenza within the school setting and the community,” says Robert M. Jacobson, medical director, Primary Care in Southeast Minnesota Immunization Program at Mayo Clinic. “Furthermore, preventing fever, cough and colds means preventing COVID-19 testing and quarantine.”

Online registration to receive the flu vaccine has begun and parents can register their children until Sept. 14. Online registration is preferred; however, paper forms are available at schools. Registration is required, and forms will not be accepted after 11 p.m. on Sept. 14.

Registration information is available on the Southeast Minnesota Immunization Connection website at www.semnic.org/schoolfluclinics.html.

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