Back to School time also means that parents need to be prepared for the Kick the Flu (KTF) campaign to return to some Texas school districts. KTF is a school-based flu shot clinic that is coordinated by Florida-based Healthy Schools LLC. These clinics take place on campus DURING instructional time. Their claimed objective is to offer free flu vaccines to all students to reduce flu-related absences.
However, let’s take a look at the CDC’s own data on the Vaccine Effectiveness (VE) for the flu shot to see if evidence exists to support KTF’s objective. Since tracking the VE of the flu shot began in 2004, the VE has ranged from 10-60%. At best, the flu vaccine may be 60 percent effective. At worst, it is essentially completely ineffective. In other words, even if 100% of students on a campus receive the shot, the majority would be nearly indistinguishable from non-vaccinated students at a neighboring campus when it comes to how many students get the flu.
All of that common sense aside, let’s explore the many issues with this program that was piloted in a handful of districts last year. We are fully expecting the program to be expanded to include more districts for this school year, and we want to ensure that YOU are equipped to combat the potential informed consent violations and other tomfoolery that Texans do not tolerate.
First, you need to know that, no matter what the parent letter explaining the program says, you are NOT required to return the consent form. NO Texas law mandates parents to return a consent form for an optional program for an optional shot. (Spoiler: they are ALL optional!)
Also of concern was the timing of the distribution of the consent forms. These forms could be included in enrollment packets, increasing the potential for parents to mistakenly sign it in the paperwork shuffle. Last year, TFVC was contacted by a mom who was very upset when she discovered her children were DOUBLE vaccinated with the flu shot thanks to the ill-timed distribution of the Kick the Flu consent forms. She signed the forms during the enrollment process, well in advance of the actual clinic, and then later consented to flu shots at her children’s check-ups because she forgot about the weeks-ago-signed KTF paper work.
Additionally, if the same consent forms are used this year, they do not include the date the clinic will be at your child’s campus. Those parents wishing to keep their children home last year for KTF Day (to make sure they were NOT vaccinated against their wishes) were unable to ascertain the exact day they would be on their campus! (Fun fact: According to Texas Family Code Section 32.002 consent forms MUST include the date of treatment. Since the date of the campus clinic is NOT listed on the consent forms, this program is NOT in compliance with Texas law!)
These are just a few of the concerns with this program. You can be confident that Texans for Vaccine Choice will be monitoring the roll out of Kick the Flu very closely this year. If you receive any KTF communication from your child’s school that strikes you as coercive or misleading in nature, please reach out to us ASAP at [email protected].
Remember, when it comes to the flu shot or any other vaccination for school enrollment, PARENTS CALL THE SHOTS!