Texas A&M is offering employees and their families a chance to prepare for flu season with five vaccination events this month.
A&M’s initiative has been offering walk-in and drive-through clinics throughout October, with the last two taking place Oct. 24 and 25. Mary Schubert, director of the strategic programs division of human resources and organizational effectiveness, said the division is partnering with A&M Health Family Care and students from the colleges of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, as well as the school of public health and the Health Science Center’s Office of Interprofessional Education & Research.
“Through these clinics, Texas A&M students from these colleges are able to gain practical experience in administering flu vaccinations to hundreds of people,” Schubert said. “The most valuable part of this initiative is the interprofessional education and experience that these students gain as they work collaboratively to care for university employees who are a critical part of the Aggie Family.”
Schubert said the walk-in flu vaccine clinics are taking place at the following dates and locations:
Thursday, Oct. 24, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. in Rudder Exhibit Hall
Friday, Oct. 25, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. in the Health Professions Education Building LL 43A&B (Riverside campus)
Tiffany Skaggs, Chief of Beutel Health Services Medical Staff, said there are thousands of deaths due to the flu every year, even if it may seem rare.
“Even if the death rate is one in a thousand, if millions of people get it then that’s a lot of people who can die from it,” Skaggs said. “Especially very young people, very old people, sick individuals who don’t have good immune systems. If we can get a large number of people vaccinated, then we can protect ourselves and others from getting the infection and spreading it.”
Skaggs said a popular myth is that people can get the flu from the flu shot, which is incorrect because there is no live virus in the vaccine. So the vaccine is safe, though its effectiveness varies from year to year, she said.
“Some years it’s only 30 percent effective, some years it’s 60 percent,” Skaggs said. “It’s definitely not as effective as some other immunizations that are up in the 90s. And so it won’t prevent all flus. It’ll prevent 60 percent of them on a good year.”
The flu spreads throughout the world every year with a different strain, and this year’s vaccine effectiveness is uncertain, Skaggs said. However, she said it’s still well worth it to get the shot.
“If you do get the flu and you got your flu shot, then it’s going to be less severe and it’s not going to last long,” Skaggs said. “We still decreased the flu nationwide and worldwide, and the ones who did get it didn't have as bad of a time with it. It’s not a guarantee, but it decreases the risk.”