HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Maemae Elementary cafeteria was turned into a flu clinic for the day.
Nursing student Tiffany Navarro explained to one of the children, "You're going to feel a little poke. Okay. Relax."
One by one, students got their shot or mist.
It's the fourth year for the Health Department's Stop Flu at School Program.
This reporter asked a bunch of the students, "How many of you have done this before?". A few of them raised their hands. "How many of you think it hurts. Be honest". "Kind of", one child responds.
On a pain scale of 1 to 10, student Brieann declares that it rates, "A three".
Nursing students from the University of Hawaii did their best to make it as painless as possible.
"I love working with students", Navarro adds. "Sometimes they're a little better than the adults".
Case in point - a patient who needed a little extra hand holding. Teacher Karen Harada. "If my little kids can do it, I can do it. Right?", Harada affirms.
Three hundred thirty-one (331) schools signed up. That's a good start because, last year, campuses like Maemae were the first to report confirmed cases of the H1N1.
Doctor Sarah Park explained why students are at such high risk.
"One starts with something, pretty soon the whole class comes down with it", Dr. Park explains.
Because they're younger, their immune systems are naive.
Hawaii was the first in the nation to launch a free school flu program statewide that offers both the mist and the shot.
Eleven year-old Janice Oguma is an old pro at it now. "If you get it right in the soft tissue, it hurts a lot". "Was it not too bad?", this reporter asked. "Not too bad", Janice agreed. She gave the nursing student who administered her shot an "A" grade. Good thing because she tells it like it is. "If he had done a very bad job, I would say F minus".
Because the framework was in place when H1N1 hit, Hawaii quickly responded with a 2nd round of vaccines in schools.
The Centers for Disease Control is actually using our model for the rest of the nation.
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