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Health Department offers free flu vaccines for students


    A student at Hill City Elementary receives a flu mist vaccine at the school campus.

The public health department will soon visit middle and high schools.

    This month 338 elementary students took advantage of free influenza vaccines offered at school campuses, with the Pickens County Health Department gearing up to visit the middle and high school campuses in the coming weeks.


    “The forms are going home to the middle schoolers (this) week, and depending on the participation and the availability of the vaccines we will be going to the high school,” said Pickens County Nurse Sandy Singleton.
    Each year licensed public nurses from the health department visit schools as part of the state program. Students can take the flu mist – a live vaccine – or an injection if they do not qualify for the mist. Qualification is based on health requirements. 
    Singleton said the department starts the rounds with elementary schools because of better participation on those campuses. 
    “I don’t know if it’s because elementary school parents go through their children’s bags more often and middle school parents may miss the forms we send home because they tend not to,” Singleton said, “but we just have more participation with elementary students.”
    According to Singleton, 92 students were vaccinated at Hill City Elementary; 109 at Jasper Elementary; 45 at Tate Elementary and 92 at Harmony Elementary.
    Singleton said the health department will bill Medicaid, Medicare and some other insurances for the vaccine, “but if a child has an insurance we don’t use or is not covered the state reimburses the cost,” she said. 
    Singleton said she doesn’t anticipate running out of vaccines this year.
    “Now, we don’t have enough for every student in every school but we don’t have that need,” she said. “But say we started at elementary and all the students did get vaccinated, we would order additional supply.”
    Parents of students who would like the free vaccine must sign their child up to have the mist or injection administered at the school campus the day county health nurses are on site.    
     “They can’t come to the health department and get it for free,” she said, “that’s how this program works.”
    If you miss the free vaccines through the school, the health department takes walk-ins for flu vaccines during their regular business hours. Vaccines are $22 each. The health department accepts Medicare, Medicaid and some other insurances.
    Office hours are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday the office is closed from noon to 1 p.m. for lunch.
    The Pickens County Health Department is located at 60 Health Way, Jasper, Ga. They can be reached at 706-253-2821.

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