Texas A&M University is hosting the third of five vaccine clinics for the month today as October marks the start of the flu season.
Any university system employee, their eligible dependents and retirees who are covered by the A&M Care Plan can receive free shots. The annual drive-thru clinic is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Fan Field Parking lot on Research Parkway across from the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center. Students from the Texas A&M Health Science Center will administer the vaccinations.
When a large number of people are vaccinated, it is difficult for the disease to spread, said Suzanne Van, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Nursing, on the Health Science Center website.
“The clinic benefits the community and our students, who are able to provide this valuable service back to their Aggie family,” Van said.
According to the website, the Texas A&M division of human resources and organizational effectiveness teamed with Texas A&M Health Family Care and Texas A&M University Health Science Center Office of Interprofessional Education & Research to make the event possible. Additionally, the clinic is meant to be a real-life scenario for students to train for mass inoculation as part of the Health Science Center’s disaster preparedness initiative.
University President Michael Young will attend the clinic at 1:30 p.m. to receive a shot, along with interim senior vice president of the Health Science Center Greg Hartman and VP of Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness Jeffrey Risinger.
Since Oct. 1, Brazos County Health District Health Promotion Manager Sara Mendez said there have been 49 influenza cases reported in the county. At this time last year, there were six reported cases.
October marks the start of flu season, but Mendez said it is too early to make predictions about which strain will be most prevalent this year, or during which month cases will peak.
Mendez said it is important for people to exercise healthy practices, such as washing their hands regularly and staying home from work if they get sick, but “getting the vaccine is the number one way to prevent getting the flu.”
While the number of cases usually peaks in January or February, Mendez said there was a spike in reported flu cases in February and March last year.
The next two A&M clinics will be on Oct. 24 at Rudder Exhibit Hall and on Oct. 25 at the Health Professions Education Building.