Sept. 26, 2018
People who might otherwise go without health care in seven communities across Texas will be protected from influenza, or flu, and other vaccine-preventable diseases, thanks to grants from the Texas Medical Association’s (TMA’s) Be Wise — ImmunizeSM program. TMA recently awarded more than $13,000 in grants to physicians, TMA Alliance (TMAA) volunteers, and medical student chapters to provide free flu shots to uninsured and underinsured Texans in their hometowns.
Shot clinics are this week and throughout the fall in El Paso, Galveston, Garland, Houston, Paris, and Tyler. Another event already occurred in Manvel. (See chart below for details about events in your area.)
These clinics fulfill a need in local communities: The flu is a viral illness that is much worse than a common cold and can lead to more severe, life-threatening illnesses such as pneumonia. During the last flu season (2017-18), more than 10,500 Texans, from the very young to the elderly, died as a result of the flu, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. For some people, the flu’s complications pose a greater threat: elderly people, young children, pregnant women, and people with chronic medical conditions. Physicians urge most everyone, but most importantly these groups of people, to get a flu shot every year, which is why so many 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 TMAA (an organization of physician volunteers and spouses) to help ensure their communities are healthy by offering childhood, adolescent, and adult vaccinations at special events and clinics. Members often partner with local organizations to reach residents in need.
In five years, TMA has awarded 100 Local Impact Grants totaling nearly $192,000 to provide more than 12,000 vaccinations across the state. The TMA Foundation (TMAF), TMA’s philanthropic arm, funds Be Wise — Immunize and the Local Impact Grants.
“Last flu season was one of the worst in recent history, so we urge everyone to get vaccinated now to prevent flu. Our grant funding will help Texans — especially those who otherwise might not be able to get a flu shot — avoid an uncomfortable illness, missed work, and possible hospitalization or even death,” said TMAF President Leslie H. Secrest, MD, of Dallas.
The funding is timely, as flu season begins in October. Texas physicians and shot-clinic volunteers begin vaccinating Texans Saturday through this program.
Seven current vaccination events funded by these TMA-awarded grants range from $1,163 to $2,500:
- Lekshmi Nair, MD, along with Love to Share Foundation America, provided flu shots to Brazoria County children and adults at the 8th Annual Life & Soul Health Fair on Sept. 15 and shots were provided through Sept. 22 at Sai Primary Care in Manvel.
- Lekshmi Nair, MD, along with Love to Share Foundation America-Dallas chapter, will give free flu vaccinations at the Life & Soul Health Fair at Dallas Namadwaar in Garland (1881 Apollo Rd.) on Sept. 29.
- Smith County Medical Society Alliance will provide 100 free flu vaccinations for children and adults at the ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk at Village at Cumberland Park in Tyler on Sept. 29.
- McGovern Medical School at UT Health TMA Chapter will partner with the HOMES Clinic, a student-run medical clinic that provides medical care for homeless people, to offer free flu and Hepatitis A/B vaccinations at the Beacon homeless shelter in Houston on Oct. 21.
- El Paso Pediatric Associates will provide 100 flu vaccinations at no cost to children at its Healthy Halloween Health Fair in El Paso (1160 Saddle Bronc Dr.) on Oct. 27 from 9 am-noon.
- Paris-Lamar County Health District and Lamar-Delta County Medical Society (CMS), will give 400 free flu shots to local adults (18 years and older) at its fifth annual drive-through clinic at the First Federal Community Bank in Paris (3010 Northeast Loop 286) on Oct. 27 from noon-4 pm.
- The University of Texas Medical Branch School of Medicine Family Medicine lnterest Group in Galveston will offer 120 free flu shots at The Luke Society Clinic and at St. Vincent’s Student Clinic in Galveston on Nov. 10 and 17. Vaccinations to prevent bacterial pneumonia, and a combined vaccination to prevent whooping cough (pertussis) and tetanus also will be offered.
TMA actively works to improve vaccination rates in Texas through its Be Wise — Immunize program. More than 340,000 shots have been given to Texas children, adolescents, and adults since the program began in 2004. TMAF funds the Be Wise program in 2018 through generous support from H-E-B, TMF Health Quality Institute, Pfizer Inc., and gifts 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 51,000 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.
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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Check out MeAndMyDoctor.com for interesting and timely news on health care issues and
Be Wise — Immunize is a
service mark of the Texas Medical Association. www.texmed.org/BeWise.