September 25, 2018

Flulapalooza is tomorrow

Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s eighth annual Flulapalooza will be held Wednesday, Sept. 26, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in a large tent erected between Light Hall and the Veteran’s Administration (VA) Hospital.

Flulapalooza is a 12-hour event, which helps to assure that Vanderbilt protects its faculty, staff, volunteers, students, and thereby its patients, from the flu.

Last year more than 13,900 people were vaccinated. Each year the goal is to vaccinate more people.

“Getting your annual flu vaccination is one of the most important things you can do to prevent the flu, said Lori Rolando, M.D., MPH, director of the Vanderbilt Occupational Health Clinic (OHC). “Flulapalooza provides a great opportunity to encourage awareness of and easy, quick access to flu vaccination for the Vanderbilt community. “

All are encouraged to receive a flu shot during the event which offers the vaccination at no charge. This event is not open to family members.

This year’s event will continue to offer three vaccine choices: high-dose, recommended for those age 65 and older, egg-free for those with egg allergies and standard Quadrivalent (the four-component vaccine).

Flulapalooza organizers remind those getting a vaccination to bring their Vanderbilt ID badge to present upon entering the tent, wear short sleeves for maximum efficiency and don’t bring food or drink into the vaccination tent.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) a person should get a flu vaccine before flu begins spreading in your community. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body, so make plans to get vaccinated early in fall, before flu season begins. Everyone at least 6 months old should be vaccinated to protect themselves and those around them from the flu.

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.


Flulapalooza  FAQs

Who can participate? 

  • All VU and VUMC employees, as well as all VU students and VUMC volunteers, are eligible to participate.
  • Vanderbilt employees, students or volunteers who forgot their Vanderbilt ID can be checked for eligibility by the troubleshooter if they have another form of ID with them, like a driver’s license. They will be referred to the greeter who will escort them to the troubleshooter table at the rear of the tent.


Who is giving the shots?  Nurses, pharmacists, and nursing or pharmacy students who have been certified to administer vaccines.

Does it have thimerosal? No.  It is preservative, thimerosal, and mercury free.

Is it a live virus vaccine? No, this is an inactivated virus.

Who should take flu vaccine?  Everyone over 6 months of age who does not have a medical reason not to take it.  It is safe and recommended in pregnancy.

Who cannot take it? 

  • Anyone who has had Guillian-Barre syndrome within weeks of a previous flu vaccine.
  • Anyone who is sick with a fever the day of the event (wait until you feel better.)


What about egg allergy?   If you can eat lightly cooked eggs, such as scrambled eggs, you can safely take flu vaccine.  If your egg allergy is more severe, vaccination could be tried in a controlled setting where you could be observed for 30 minutes afterward.  Talk with your Primary Care Physician about this option. Egg-free vaccine is available for those with severe egg allergy. (Students are asked to receive egg-free vaccine at the Student Health Center if needed).

What type of flu vaccines will be offered at the Flulapalooza ? The following types of vaccines will be available at Flulapalooza®: Quadrivalent Inactivated Vaccine (QIV), FluBlok egg-free vaccine, and High dose vaccine (trivalent inactivated).

Does it contain H1N1?  This year’s vaccine contains A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1) like, A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2) like, B/Colorado/06/2017 like, and B/Phuket/3073/2013 like antigens. The influenza A (H1N1) vaccine virus is from a 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) virus.

If I had it last year, why do I need it again?  Protection from flu vaccine wanes over time, so an annual booster is needed to remain immune.