Alachua County wins national award for flu immunization

The efforts of the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute, along with the county’s schools, the health department and two dozen other partners, resulted in substantially higher immunization rates than in most other areas of the country and earned Alachua County a nationwide tribute for its vaccine program, which is now considered a model for other communities.

Overall, in the 2010-11 school year:

-48 percent of Alachua County’s elementary school students were immunized.

-36 percent of the middle school students received the nose mist.

-16 percent of the high school students opted for the immunization.

By comparison, a CDC study followed the immunization rates of eight states (Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, New York — specifically New York City — Oregon and Wisconsin) and found these average immunization rates:

-16.3 percent for elementary school children

-12.7 percent for middle school students

-9.1 percent for high school students.

Now Alachua County is being recognized as the national winner for a community campaign for immunization by the National Influenza Vaccine Summit, which is co-sponsored by the American Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the goal of addressing and resolving influenza and influenza vaccine issues.

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Read the official press release issued by the National Influenza Vaccine Summit.