published Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Vaccinations eyed for Walker County teachers

When first-year teachers come to work in Walker County, Ga., they’re told — like new teachers everywhere — to expect an extra helping of colds and illnesses.

“You’re going to come into contact with a lot of things,” Walker County Schools Superintendent Damon Raines said.

To help combat that, Raines — who sits on the county health board — proposes to have nurses from Northwest Georgia Public Health come to Walker County public schools and give teachers immunization shots for flu, hepatitis A and B, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, or whooping cough.

Having nurses come to schools will make getting vaccinated more convenient for school employees, he said.

“A lot of times, they don’t go for [vaccinations], because it takes them away from work,” Raines said.

Because the school district is the county’s largest employer, Raines hopes the in-house vaccinations will inspire other businesses to follow suit.

A meeting is scheduled today to discuss the proposal with school principals, who will present it to teachers.

Raines doesn’t expect resistance to the vaccination plan, which he expects to proceed once the logistics are worked out.

Janet Eberhart, district immigration coordinator for Northwest Georgia Public Health, said school districts in Catoosa, Floyd and Gordon counties hold in-school vaccinations for teachers.

“It’s not much of a hard sell,” she said of vaccinations because teachers are exposed to so many illnesses and they have insurance that helps cover the cost.

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.

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