Camden preschoolers get free flu shots to meet deadline for N.J. schools

Mike DeNardo
December 12, 2018 - 2:46 pm
Parents line up with their toddlers at the Early Childhood Development Center in Camden for free flu shots.

Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio

Categories: 

CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Preschoolers in Camden were feeling the pinch Wednesday morning, as the city administered free flu shots to help the 3- and 4-year-olds meet a January deadline. 

Some of the toddlers didn't take too well to a needle in their arms, but the pain had a purpose. New Jersey requires preschool students to have an annual flu shot before the first day of school in January.  
To help meet the deadline, the Camden City School District offered free shots at the Early Childhood Development Center.  

School nurse Denise Martinez said the district has been working to let parents know about the requirement.

"Since enrollment, we're actually sending letters, calling them when we have meetings, face-to-face — we let them know," she said. "But sometimes they forget."

About 20 percent of the students missed the deadline last year, Martinez added.

"There are also other barriers, like if there's transportation, if they're working and they're not able to take that day off from work, finances," she said, "so this is an awesome partnership."

Lisa Boswell was in line to get her 4-year-old grandson Robert his shot.

"It's important so he won't be sick, and nobody else will get sick," she said.

The free shots were also welcomed by Jahnya Paynter, who brought young Kamryn for her shot.

"The doctor's office is crowded and appointments aren't till two months from now, so I'm happy it's free," she said.

Acting Superintendent Katrina McCombs noted preschool attendance is critical.

"Our youngest learners cannot afford to miss not one single day of instruction due to not having the right shots," she added.

Pennsylvania students of any age are not required to have flu shots.