September 30, 2014

Flulapalooza is tomorrow

By Nancy Humphrey

Vanderbilt University and Medical Center faculty, staff, students and volunteers will once again have the opportunity to be part of a mass flu vaccination event that three years ago more than doubled the world record for the total number of vaccinations given in an eight-hour period.

Flulapalooza 4 will be held Wednesday, Oct. 1, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in a large tent erected between Light Hall and Veteran’s Administration Hospital. The free shots are available for all University and Medical Center faculty, staff, students and volunteers. Family members will not be included in this event.

All VUMC faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to get an influenza vaccination. New data released last week shows an encouraging upward trend in the number of influenza vaccines given yearly, but still only 46.2 percent of the entire U.S. population age 6 months and older were vaccinated against flu during the 2013-2014 flu season.

“The response to three years of hosting Flulapalooza has been impressive,” said Melanie Swift, M.D., director of the Occupational Health Clinic. “This is the way our faculty, staff, volunteers and students prefer to get their flu shots each year — it’s an easy and efficient way to mark getting vaccinated against the flu off your to-do list.”

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 will be available for Vanderbilt patients starting in September.

Also, the Occupational Health Clinic offers flu shots at the OHC on the sixth floor of Vanderbilt’s Medical Arts.

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 that not too many staff members are away at once.

Swift said that faculty and staff who receive flu vaccine outside the OHC program can now electronically self-report their vaccination on the OHC website. If you are vaccinated in your provider’s office, at the VA or at a pharmacy, report your vaccine so that you are counted in your department’s vaccination rate. All university faculty and staff are encouraged to use the tool as well. All university faculty and staff are encouraged to use the tool as well.

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 may complete an exemption form, available 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, www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/infectioncontrol.