On February 17, 2009, Act 180 of 2009 of the Regular Session was signed by Governor Beebe. Act 180 of 2009 raises the tobacco excise tax to allow funding for several statewide health initiatives. One of the initiatives is to provide funding to purchase influenza vaccine for all public school students in Arkansas. The Governor wants every child and adult in Arkansas to receive flu vaccine. Therefore, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) will be ordering approximately 685,000 doses of influenza vaccine for the state for the 2009-2010 season as compared to approximately 280,000 doses ordered for the 2008-2009 season. ADH is also hoping to work with schools in providing free flu vaccine to any child that would like it and possibly school personnel.
Please consider collaborating with the local Health Unit to host a free Flu Vaccine event next Fall. The Community Health Nurse Specialist (CHNS) in each Educational Service Cooperative or the Administrator of each county Health Unit can be contacted to answer or discuss questions. Contact information for all Health Units can be found at http://www.healthyarkansas.com/.