Mayo Clinic Health System pediatric nurses administer flu shots - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Mayo Clinic Health System pediatric nurses administer flu shots at elementary schools in Mower County.

AUSTIN, Minn. (KTTC) -

It's nearly flu season which means it's time to get those flu shots.
A team pediatric nurses from Mayo Clinic Health System, led by pediatrician Dr. Vijay Chawla, were administering flu shots at elementary schools in Mower County. On Thursday morning they were at Banfield Elementary.

"Nobody likes to get a shot, not me not you, but we tell them - parents, and we tell the kids it's going to prevent a disease which can turn out to be fatal," said Dr. Chawla.

She said vaccination is the best way to protect children from influenza. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends annual flu vaccination for everyone over the age of 6 months. 

Dr. Chawla said flu season starts in the fall, peaks in winter and lasts until May.

It is especially important for children and adults with chronic health problems, since they are at an increased risk to develop complications from influenza. 
Pregnant women are also at a higher risk and should get the vaccine during pregnancy.

"Last year, per the Department of Health, Minnesota, we had over - about 3 deaths in children from influenza. There were about over 200 outbreaks of influenza in the schools," said Dr. Chawla.

Offering flu shots at school makes it easy and convenient for parents to vaccinate their kids. 

Each year's seasonal flu vaccine contains protection from the three or four influenza viruses that are expected to be the most common during that year's flu season. 
This year the vaccine is available as an injection only. Dr. Chawla said according to The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the mist was not very effective in the last three seasons.
But the best way to prevent getting and spreading the flu is to get the vaccine, and it seemed that the children knew how important that was.

"I think when we do it in a group, 'looking at my friends, looking at my peer, I want to be brave,' they act very well. And we think we did about 140 immunizations this morning, we had only two kids who really cried. Rest of them came in, sat, got it, walked away smiling," said Dr. Chawla. 

The seasonal flu vaccine is covered by most insurance plans.

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