Flu shot clinics at Arkansas schools are underway

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Beginning today, the Arkansas Department of Health will be giving out free flu shots at school to kids all across the state.

The Department of Health also will be giving free H1N1 flu shots while supplies last at these clinics.

The Department of Health says schools will send home a permission slip with the kids for parents to sign to allow their child to receive a free seasonal flu shot, as well as the H1N1 virus shot.

Dr. James Phillips chief, infectious disease, said, "Flu is serious.  Each year we lose some 36,000 Americans to complications from flu.  H1N1 flu is placing an additional burden on the safety and well being of our school children.  We have seen 9 deaths due to complications from H1N1 flu this season.  Flu shots are not required for children to attend school, but they are highly recommended."

Arkansas Department of Education commissioner Dr. Tom W. Kimbrell said, "Schools are already dealing with student and staff absences due to the flu and similar ailments, and any day missed by either affects the level of teaching and learning that can occur. The fact that these vaccines are available to all of our students and school personnel is tremendously positive and should prove helpful for both the physical and academic health of our students."

The Fair Park Elementary School in Little Rock is the first school in the state to receive the free flu shots.

For a list of when your school is scheduled to receive the shots, click here.

Coming up tonight on Region 8 News at 6, we'll hear from some Region 8 schools about what they're doing to educate kids and parents, and what they're doing to prepare for the flu clinics at their schools.

©2009 KAIT All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.