TMA Grant to Help San Antonians Fight Flu

Dec. 7, 2017

Underserved patients at various San Antonio clinics will receive influenza  vaccines thanks to a grant from the Texas Medical Association’s (TMA’s) Be Wise — ImmunizeSM program. TMA recently awarded the TMA Chapter at UT Health San Antonio’s Joe R. & Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine the funds to provide 150 free flu shots for patients at five student-run clinics. Vaccines will be given weekly through the end of January.

“Our clinics serve refugees, women in rehab facilities, and families in homeless shelters,” said Alejandra Morfin, one of the medical students leading the project.

“We want to bring flu vaccine to these people so they can stay healthy this flu season, and reduce the risk of them passing it to others.”

While flu season begins in October, disease outbreaks often peak between December and February, with some people falling ill as late as May. That’s why physicians are taking the opportunity this week, National Influenza Vaccination Week, to emphasize the importance of continuing flu vaccination throughout the flu season. As long as the flu virus is spreading and causing sickness, physicians tell patients they can get vaccinated to protect themselves and their loved ones.

The flu is a viral illness that is much more severe than the common cold and can keep people sick for seven to 10 days — and may lead to more severe, life-threatening illnesses such as pneumonia. Some 200,000 people in the United States go the hospital each year because of the flu, and as many as 48,000 people have died from flu during one season.

Physicians urge everyone 6 months and older to get a flu shot every year. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. Vaccination is especially important for those at higher risk for complications from the flu: elderly people, young children, pregnant women, and people with chronic medical conditions.

A flu vaccine is the best way to protect against illness, which is why so many TMA physicians, medical students and TMA Alliance physician volunteers, and spouses host Be Wise — Immunize flu shot clinics.

TMA created the Be Wise — Immunize Local Impact Grants program in 2012 to enable members of TMA and the TMA Alliance help ensure their communities are healthy by offering childhood, adolescent, and adult vaccinations at special events and clinics. Members often team up with local organizations to reach residents in need. The TMA Foundation (TMAF), TMA’s philanthropic arm, funds Be Wise — Immunize and the Local Impact Grants.

“Flu is a highly contagious, miserable illness that can prove deadly for some. Our grant funding will ensure San Antonio residents who might not otherwise receive the flu shot will be protected,” said TMAF President Leslie H. Secrest, MD, of Dallas.

In five years, TMA has awarded 90 grants totaling nearly $170,000 to provide more than 12,000 vaccinations across the state through the Local Impact Grants program.

TMA actively works to improve vaccination rates in Texas through its Be Wise — Immunize program. TMA has given nearly 330,000 shots to Texas children, adolescents, and adults since the program began in 2004. TMAF funds the Be Wise program in 2017 through generous support from H-E-B and TMF Health Quality Institute, along with contributions from physicians and their families.

TMA has published an infographic about flu vaccination, in English and Spanish.

TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 50,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.

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Be Wise — Immunize is a service mark of the Texas Medical Association.

Contact:  Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320; email: brent.annear[at]texmed[dot]org

Marcus Cooper (512) 370-1382; cell: (512) 650-5336; email: marcus.cooper[at]texmed[dot]org

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Last Updated On

April 20, 2018

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