Ex-NFL player teams to help Kettering students get flu shots

Kettering City Schools are partnering with Healthy Schools, an organization founded by former Jacksonville Jaguars player Tony Boselli, to offer free flu shots to students. FILE
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Kettering City Schools are partnering with Healthy Schools, an organization founded by former Jacksonville Jaguars player Tony Boselli, to offer free flu shots to students. FILE

Students in Kettering City Schools will be offered free flu shots during a three-day program in November and through a partnership with a group founded by a former NFL player.

Kettering is partnering with Healthy Schools, whose founder, former Jacksonville Jaguars player Tony Boselli, wanted to bring high-quality, no-cost health services directly to public school students during the school day.

The partnership will allow students, with parent permission, to receive free flu shots at Kettering schools Nov. 12-14.

MORE: How bad will flu season be this year? 5 things you need to know

“Healthy Schools will step in and try to meet the increased demand in the interest of savings lives, and we are aggressively working with school officials and county and state health officials to devise the strategy that will vaccinate the most children,” Boselli explained in a statement detailing what the Healthy Schools flu vaccine initiative is about.

Kettering school officials were eager to partner on the effort, according to Kari Basson, coordinator of community relations and auxiliary services for the district.

“We jumped at the chance, as this fits directly in with our Strategic Planning Goal No. 5 of supporting the whole person,” she said.

MORE: Walk-in flu vaccines to be offered by Wright State Physicians

Healthy Schools will bill parent/guardian insurance companies for those who have insurance, and it guarantees that there will be no out-of-pocket cost to any parent, if their child gets the vaccine. In other words, if the flu shot is not covered or a parent does not have insurance, there is no cost. Similarly, if a parent’s insurance company has a co-pay for vaccines, Healthy Schools promises to cover that co-pay so that there is no cost to the parent.

Betina Irwin, school nurse at Prass Elementary and the district’s nurse coordinator, said the flu shot is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Medical professionals across the county, as well as the CDC, recommend the flu shot as the number one most effective way to avoid getting the flu,” Irwin said. “Getting a child vaccinated is the best thing a parent can do to protect him or her, to protect yourself and family, and to protect all of the people your child comes in contact with on a daily basis from getting the flu.”

Flu season runs through fall and winter, peaking between December and February.

Dr. F. Stuart Leeds of Wright State Physicians said the annual flu vaccine is particularly important for vulnerable populations like young children or adults more than 50 years old.

Leeds said people should not wait until the virus is already spreading in the area before they get the vaccine.

“That’s a dangerous game of viral roulette,” said Leeds.

MORE: 17K hospitalized with flu last year: What you need to know about this season

Basson said parents are asked to sign up their child for the flu vaccine by Oct. 29. The vaccines will be administered at each of the district’s schools buildings, and parents who approve participation will be contacted later with details.

No child will be vaccinated unless the child’s parent/guardian has given Healthy Schools permission to vaccinate, according to school officials.

HOW TO SIGN UP

Parents/guardians in Kettering City Schools can give permission for their child to be vaccinated through this link set up by Healthy Schools, and the link can also be accessed from the district's website at www.ketteringschools.org.