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Free Flu Vaccines for Elementary Students

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Marianna Bacallao, WVIK News
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Sydney Voss is the first elementary schooler to receive a free flu vaccine from Genesis Health.

Genesis Health System's annual Flu-Free Quad Cities program is going look a little different this year. For some schools, that means added safety measures. For others, it means drive-thru flu shots. But the goal is the same: providing free seasonal flu vaccines to over 8,000 children.

At a press conference today, Dr. Ann O'Donnell of Genesis Health said she usually advises waiting until November to get the flu vaccine. Now, she says, "if someone offers you a flu shot, please get it." 

O'Donnell says reports from the Southern Hemisphere show that their flu season wasn't as bad this year, since face masks, frequent hand washing, and social distancing have become commonplace. But preserving that herd immunity is still vital. 

 "Kids may not suffer the worst symptoms of flu, but they are very efficient carriers that can pass the virus on to more vulnerable populations."

Genesis will hold a kickoff event on Saturday, Oct. 24 at Modern Woodmen Park from 9 a.m. to noon. Elementary school kids will get a free ticket for a future Quad Cities River Bandits game after they're vaccinated.

Marianna Bacallao is WVIK Quad Cities NPR's 2020-2021 Fellowship Host/Reporter. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Mercer University's Center for Collaborative Journalism and served as Editor-in-Chief for the student newspaper, The Cluster.
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