August 15, 2019

Flulapalooza set for Wednesday, Sept. 25

by Tavia Smith

It’s that time of year to roll up your sleeve, grin, and take a shot in the arm. 

Vanderbilt University Medical Center will have its ninth annual Flulapalooza mass influenza vaccination event on Wednesday, Sept. 25.

The event will be held from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in a tent between Light Hall and the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital.

Faculty, staff, students and volunteers from the Medical Center and Vanderbilt University are encouraged to receive a flu shot during the 12-hour event.

In 2018, approximately 13,683 vaccinations were given.

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).

“One of the most important preventive measures you can take is getting your annual flu vaccination,” said Lori Rolando, MD, MPH, director of the Vanderbilt Occupational Health Clinic (OHC). “Flulapalooza has proven to be a successful event and provides the Vanderbilt community with easy and quick access to flu vaccinations.”

While preparations are underway, organizers are seeking volunteers to serve as vaccinators, vaccinator helpers, documenters, and patient greeters to work in two-hour shifts.

All employees can participate as volunteers and should receive prior approval from their supervisor before volunteering for shifts.

Here is the main web link for info on signing up to volunteer: https://www.vumc.org/health-wellness/event-staff-signup

Here is the REDCap link to directly go into the sign-up form: https://redcap.vanderbilt.edu/surveys/?s=H8ECHDYJH7

“Flulapalooza promotes our mission to protect co-workers, guests, and patients on our campus, and by volunteering you contribute to this goal,” Rolando said. “This event brings our community together in a fun way. Those who receive their vaccination or volunteer play an integral part in the success of the event.” 

Flu vaccination is a requirement for all Medical Center employees, and Flulapalooza works to facilitate the process. All current employees must comply and receive the flu shot by Monday, Dec. 2, 2019.  

“The emphasis is on convenience, access, and ease,” Rolando said. “Getting the flu shot at Flulapalooza is quicker than walking to Occupational Health Center (OHC) or an off-site location,” she added.

Flu season in the United States can begin as early as October and last until May, according to the Center for Disease Control, which recommends that everyone at least 6 months old and older should be vaccinated to protect themselves and those around them from the flu.

Each year the Flulapalooza planning committee works to create a festival-like tone to make the event both efficient and fun for all involved. The goal of Flulapalooza is to vaccinate and protect more people, including patients, from getting the flu.

For those unable to attend Flulapalooza, OHC will also offer flu shots at its sixth-floor location in the Medical Arts Building.

Organizers said faculty and staff receiving flu vaccine outside of OHC can electronically self-report on the OHC website in order to be counted in a department’s vaccination rate. If the provider is outside Vanderbilt, documentation of the vaccine must be provided. The electronic form to self-report is available via the OHC website (https://www.vumc.org/health-wellness/self-reports).

Flulapalooza began in 2011 to test the Medical Center’s emergency mass vaccination plan and has evolved into an efficient way to assure Vanderbilt’s employees, patients, students, and volunteers are protected from the flu. In 2011, VUMC became the Guinness world record holder for the most vaccinations given in one location in an eight-hour period, administering 12,850 flu shots.

TIPS:

  • Wear short sleeves or have sleeves rolled up
  • Don’t forget your Vanderbilt University/Medical Center ID badge
  • Stagger staff participation
  • Exemption requests can be found here (https://forms.vanderbilt.edu/view.php?id=455097
  • Food and drink are not allowed in the tent.