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by Tavia Smith | Thursday, Sep. 1, 2016, 10:13 AM
Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) will once again be offering faculty, staff, students and volunteers free flu shots at the upcoming Flulapalooza mass vaccination event.
Flulapalooza 6 will be held Tuesday, Oct. 11, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in a large tent erected between Light Hall and the Veteran’s Administration (VA) Hospital.
Family members will not be included in this event. Last year, 14,584 received vaccinations during the 12-hour event.
The dual purpose of Flulapalooza is to test VUMC’s emergency mass vaccination plan as if there actually were a public health emergency requiring mass vaccination, and to help assure that Vanderbilt protects its faculty, staff, volunteers, students, and patients from the flu.
“It is so impressive to see how the Vanderbilt community engages at the Flulapalooza yearly. It’s still one of the easiest and most efficient ways to receive flu vaccine,” said Catherine Qian, N.P., manager of the Occupational Health Clinic (OHC).
“This year at Flulapalooza, we will continue to offer all vaccine types, supply permitting, including Quadrivalent, high-dose for people over 65 and egg-free for people with egg allergies. However, no Flu Mist will be offered at Flulapalooza, the OHC clinic or any of OHC’s onsite visits due to its low effectiveness.”
Qian said that faculty and staff who receive flu vaccine outside the OHC program can electronically self-report on the OHC website. If you are vaccinated in your provider’s office, the VA or a pharmacy, report your vaccine so that you are counted in your department’s vaccination rate. If your provider is outside Vanderbilt, you must provide documentation, which can be uploaded electronically in the self-report tool. However, Flu Mist will not be accepted as evidence of receiving flu vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone at least 6 months old should be vaccinated to protect themselves and their close contacts from the flu. Flu vaccine is currently available for Vanderbilt patients.
The Occupational Health Clinic also offers flu shots at its sixth floor location in the Medical Arts Building and through a wide variety of mobile events, detailed on the OHC website.
For maximum efficiency during the Flulapalooza event, please wear short sleeves and present your Vanderbilt ID badge. Supervisors should stagger staff participation in patient care areas so not too many staff members are away at once.
VUMC policy now requires annual influenza vaccination or exemption. Exemptions may be for religious or personal/philosophical beliefs or for medical contraindications. Those who wish to be exempted from receiving the flu vaccine must submit an exemption request by Oct. 1. A link to the exemption request is on the OHC website.
For information on how to protect yourself and your patients from influenza, check the Department of Infection Control & Prevention’s website.
Tavia Smith, (615) 322-4747
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