Door-to-Door Campaign Brings Flu Vaccine to You
September 4th, 2012 - Filed under: Connections
A flu vaccination campaign kicks off this week, led by University Medical Center and the Student Health Center. It is an effort to vaccinate as many faculty, staff and students as possible before flu season, which usually begins in October.
The faculty and staff portion of the campaign involves University Medical Center nurses, and additional nurses hired for the effort, bringing injectable vaccines to faculty and staff across campus. Vaccination stations will be set up in building lobbies, and nurses will also go to employee offices.
Nurses will travel around campus during the first several weeks of September, eventually visiting nearly every building. Toward the end of the month, tents will be set up on the Quad and in faculty and staff parking lots. Flu shots will be offered before and after work hours.
Vaccinations will also be offered at University Medical Center’s Faculty and Staff Clinic, at WellBama sites in various locations on campus, and at the Oct. 10 Employee Health Fair, while supplies last.
The vaccination is free to UA employees, and University health insurance is not required for a flu shot. Spouses of faculty and staff who are covered by UA’s insurance plan may also receive flu shots.
“This is a huge undertaking,” says Elizabeth Cockrum, MD, clinical director of University Medical Center and the College of Community Health Sciences associate dean for clinical affairs. “But our goal is to knock on doors and to make this as easy and convenient as possible.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone aged six months and older get a flu vaccine each year. The CDC says getting a flu shot is especially important for people who are at high risk of developing serious complications if they get sick with the flu, including people with asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease; pregnant women; and people aged 65 and older. The CDC also says people who live with or care for others who are at risk of developing serious complications from the flu should also be vaccinated.
“Getting a flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease,” Cockrum says.
The seasonal flu vaccine protects against three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming flu season. Risks associated with receiving a flu shot are extremely small, and the viruses in the flu shot are inactivated so they cannot cause the flu.
Cockrum says a flu vaccine is needed every year because flu viruses are constantly changing and it is not unusual for new flu viruses to appear each year. The flu vaccine is formulated each year to keep up with the changing virus.
A schedule listing vaccination sites, times and dates will be placed on the UA online calendar at events.ua.edu.
University Medical Center and Student Health Center are both operated by the College of Community Health Sciences, a regional campus of The University of Alabama School of Medicine.
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