Previously, I worked with Clay County and Bullock County to provide pilot sites for school-located vaccine clinics. My objective was to reduce preventable absenteeism. The 2011 clinics were well received and very much appreciated by faculty and parents. In the 2012 session, I sponsored Senate Joint Resolution 11, which encouraged all public school systems to offer at least one flu clinic per year with no out of cost expenses to parents or the school. In 2012, I’m proud to say that the Alabama based “Teach Flu A Lesson” program expanded to cover 30 counties and 19 city school systems so far this season with more scheduled this month.
It means that literally tens of thousands of students have received their influenza vaccination with no out-of-pocket costs to their parents. This reflects thousands of hours of sick time that parents did not have to take off from work to take their child for their vaccination. These students should not get the flu, nor will they be able to share it with their grandparents. I hope that this simple, common sense approach to reducing absenteeism will also yield other positive outcomes such as — higher test scores, fewer hospital admissions, fewer employee sick days for our local employers.
I am very proud of the outcomes from the “Teach Flu A Lesson” program. This program will become a national model of a sustainable influenza vaccination program that does not depend on State funding while providing preventative, cost saving and potentially lifesaving vaccines.
Please remember to get your flu vaccine at your physician’s office, pharmacy, local health department or clinic.
Sen. Gerald Dial