October 27, 2017

Teach flu a lesson

Every child at each participating school will be offered free flu vaccine, regardless of his or her insurance status.

To help create flu-free communities and reduce school absenteeism, Kaiser Permanente is teaming up with eight Southern California school districts and local nursing programs to "Teach Flu a Lesson."

Beginning in October, every child at each participating school will be offered free injectable flu vaccine on-site, regardless of his or her insurance status. The flu vaccination clinics will be held at 112 schools across four counties — Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Diego — through mid-December. Internal risk mapping, a method used to identify below-average flu vaccination rates in Kaiser Permanente membership, enabled Kaiser Permanente to target the specific geographic locations.

“School-based vaccination clinics promote community immunity by helping to prevent influenza among children where outbreaks often start,” said Margaret Khoury, MD, pediatric infectious disease specialist and the regional lead of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Flu Vaccination Program. “This helps close health inequity gaps in our communities, as well as decrease influenza-related illness that causes students to miss school.”

The campus clinics also make it more convenient for parents who do not need to take time off work to get the shots.

Influenza is the leading cause of illness in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. School-age children have the highest annual flu rates — as high as 42 percent, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases.

More than 8,500 students are expected to receive the flu vaccination this year through the Teach Flu a Lesson program. Nursing students from 16 nursing programs affiliated with Kaiser Permanente will administer the vaccines while gaining community health experience as part of their community health rotations.

Participating school districts by county include the following:

  • Los Angeles County: Baldwin Park and El Rancho.
  • Orange County: Anaheim, Buena Park, Santa Ana, and Savana.
  • San Bernardino County: Yucaipa.
  • San Diego County: San Diego.

For more information, please contact Kathy Kigerl, chief administrative officer, Southern California Permanente Medical Group, at Kathy.X.Kigerl@kp.org.