DODEA mandates flu vaccine for all students starting this school year
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Getting an annual flu shot will be mandatory for all students in Department of Defense schools worldwide starting this fall.
School officials said the new vaccination requirement affects all Department of Defense Education Activity students in the States and in the Pacific. Pupils attending DODEA schools in Europe have been required to get a seasonal flu shot annually since the 2010-11 school year, after U.S. European Command mandated the immunization for not only students but also for teachers and other employees.
“DODEA is moving forward with implementing the requirement for the annual seasonal influenza vaccine,” DODEA spokeswoman Elaine Kanellis said Friday.
The new DODEA policy was outlined in a memorandum dated Sept. 7 and posted online at www.health.mil, the official website of the Military Health System and Defense Health Agency.
The vaccine, DODEA officials said in the document, is the best defense against influenza. They assert the vaccine can indirectly improve student achievement by reducing absenteeism from flu-related illnesses.
“The military community is a highly transient one, which increases the potential for exposure and the spread of infectious diseases such as influenza,” the memorandum said. “Reducing the spread of preventable infections in schools and the military community improves students’ health, safety and attendance.”
Better health and safety, it adds, “reduces absenteeism” and “a reduction in absenteeism improves student academic achievement.”
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