A Call to Arms: 'Tis the Season to Get Vaccinated
It’s that time of year again. The air is getting crisper and cooler, and almost everything is pumpkin-flavored. While we rummage through cluttered closets for our favorite sweaters, several administrative departments within Einstein are coming together to make sure we’re “covered” for the upcoming flu season. That means rolling up our sleeves to get a shot of flu vaccine.
For the better part of 2020, the COVID-19 virus has been the central health concern. With the arrival of fall, the virus could join forces with the flu—a most powerful ally—to target members of our community, especially more vulnerable individuals.
“Both of these viruses can cause respiratory complications,” noted Stephen Baum M.D., distinguished professor of medicine and of microbiology & immunology. “Treating a simultaneous infection could be very challenging.”
One way to deter such a powerful one-two viral punch is getting the flu vaccine. It’s a potent shield for preventing flu, or for reducing its virulence in the event one catches it. And, the higher the number of people receiving a vaccine, the less likely the flu virus can reach the particularly vulnerable.
“We don’t have a means yet to prevent COVID-19, aside from our efforts to wear masks, wash our hands, and practice safe distancing from others. So, getting the flu vaccine is our best shot at protecting ourselves and others during the continuing pandemic,” said Dr. Baum.
Free Flu Shots Soon Available
At Einstein, the annual flu vaccination campaign will take place during October, which is considered the ideal period to achieve immunization that will last throughout the entire flu season (which typically runs through April). There will be two dosage types offered: regular and high dose; the latter is for individuals age 65 and older.
Regular-strength flu shots will be offered on Monday, October 26 and Wednesday, October 28, by appointment only—on a first come, first served basis. Our occupational health service (OHS) staff will administer the shots in the Lubin Dining Hall. (A “campuswide” e-blast announcing the dates and times was sent on September 30. It provides details on where to call for an appointment—a must in these COVID-19 times—where to go, and what to bring with you.)
“Because of precautions we will take to protect against COVID-19, those wishing to get a flu shot will first need to make an appointment for a specific time frame,” said Tina Crane, R.N., administrator for the OHS. “We will administer four shots of regular flu vaccine within each time frame between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. each day, and we will have signs and floor markings to indicate proper spacing for those waiting their turn.”
She added, “We’ll also provide a stronger dosage for those age 65 and older at a separate time, in our OHS office in the Block building.” Those with questions or wishing to make an appointment for the special dosage shot should call the OHS office at x2686.
When you arrive for your appointment, you’ll be given a short form to complete. The nurse administering your flu shot will take the form from you.
Tina added, “Because of COVID-19, we cannot accommodate walk-ins as we have done in the past. Security will be on hand to verify reservations and provide the forms. That will help ensure that we can keep on time with administering the vaccines while also keeping everyone safe.”
Among the safety measures that will be in place, OHS staff will disinfect their space between each visitor and will wear a mask, a face shield, and gloves. Those waiting for their shot must wear a mask and have their completed health form and Einstein I.D.
Team Effort Makes Us #EinsteinStrong
During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic this past spring, many of us pitched in to identify available resources—from personal protective equipment (PPE) and nitrile gloves to ventilators and face shields—to assist our frontline essential workforce as they sought to provide care amid rising caseloads. Now, with the threat of dual infections, it’s up to each of us to protect one another as best we can.
In the effort to do so, we must all come together, yet remain six feet apart, and do what we can to keep Einstein and our community safe. Check for the e-blasts and make your plan to give yourself your best shot at prevention!
Posted on: Friday, October 02, 2020