Free Flu Shot Clinics in APS


Junior Kalki Ausink receiving her annual flu shot from Medical Advisor Ms. Dorothy Cyphers, while other Medical Advisor Ms. Diane Lekang prepares for the next student.

Each year, both children and adults are affected by the flu. This year, Arlington Public Schools (APS) provided free flu shot clinics for each school’s students and teachers. Elementary, middle and high schools hosted  the free flu shot clinics on certain dates assigned for that school. The last flu shot clinic APS offered was Washington-Lee’s on November 30.

“I think APS is great at offering financially sound opportunities for its very economically diverse population,” freshman Mia Shenkman said.

With symptoms like dehydration, muscle soreness, coughing, nasal congestion and nausea, people around the world have come to a general consensus: avoid the flu. People do this by getting their annual flu shots from personal doctors, flu shot clinics or other medical professionals.

“It is wonderful that the school has a flu clinic because the flu is a public health issue. When people get the flu then they’re contagious, and they pass on the flu,” parent Ms. Dana Laidhold said. “So for the school to be proactive in getting kids vaccinated will keep the community healthier.”

Most flu shots given by personal doctors are covered by insurance, and outside clinics dedicated to giving flu shots cost money. Some people cannot  afford getting a flu shot.

“I think it is important for the school to provide this health care because it ensures the safety and health of our community by providing a service that some don’t have the opportunity to receive,” Shenkman said. “It is a great opportunity that many can take advantage of.”

The students that attend APS come from various financial situations. Whether the students are getting the free flu shots because of financial reasons, or because of convenience, APS is one of the few school systems that accommodates their student’s needs.   

“APS differs greatly from other school systems because it is so in touch and connected with its community,” Shenkman said. “By providing this flu shot service, it shows just how much the school system cares about the health of its students and teachers.”

Out of the approximate 2,400 students who attend the school only about  150 students received their flu shots from the school, approximately five percent of the entire student population. While the shots are safe,  there is a slight stigma of receiving these shots from the students.

“A lot of people might not know about the service, or might be comfortable receiving flu shots from their own doctors,” Shenkman said.

Despite the stigma, the general opinion of the clinic from the school is more positive than negative. Most students are in agreement that the free flu shots should not be looked down upon, but appreciated.

“School is where you spend the majority of your time and if kids are getting sick because they don’t have access to proper medical care, then the entire school can get sick,” sophomore Caroline Hamilton said. “This helps kids who don’t have health care or live in an area that is inconvenient to get to a doctor or a clinic.”

APS’s flu clinics provided the students with a safe and reliable form of health care. Though only a small percentage of students received the flu shot, it was a service that was appreciated by all.

“The flu shot clinics were a great opportunity for people who were not able to get it outside of school. APS really came through for its students,” freshman Josie Walsh said.