HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Keiki across the state can now receive the flu shot for free.
The annual Stop the Flu at School Program is back Monday in 177 public schools statewide and runs through the beginning of December.
DOH officials estimate around 30,000 students will be vaccinated through this voluntary program.
Stop the Flu at School provides the free vaccinations to students in kindergarten through eighth grade who are enrolled at participating schools.
Dr. Sarah Park, a state epidemiologist, said that getting vaccinated is the best defense against the flu.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises an annual flu shot for everyone ages six months and older.
“Vaccinating our school-age children will help reduce the spread of flu in our communities and protect those at risk of serious illness," Park said.
During the last flu season, the CDC reported 180 pediatric flu-related deaths in the U.S. Around 80 percent of these deaths were children who had not received a flu shot.
Typically, the flu season lasts from October through the end of May.
Along with getting vaccinated, the DOH suggests other ways to prevent yourself from getting the flu including: washing your hands, staying home when sick, and covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
This program is paid for by federal funds and contributions from health insurers.
For a full list of participating schools, click here.