TMA Fights Flu One Shot at a Time
By Tammy Wishard

TMA_Flu_Shots

The last flu season claimed the lives of more than 11,000 Texans. 

To help make this season less severe, the Texas Medical Association has come out fighting with Be Wise — ImmunizeSM flu shot clinics supported through the TMA Local Impact Grants program

In Paris, Texas, 300 people received a vaccination on Oct. 27, thanks to the Drive Thru, Fight the Flu program hosted by the Lamar-Delta County Medical Society and the Paris-Lamar County Health District and other community partners.  

“Our free flu shot clinic has become an expected health event in Paris, and I am especially grateful to provide these patients immunizations when you see how debilitated and car-bound some of them are,” said hospitalist Amanda Green, MD. “These individuals are the most high risk for severe flu outcomes, and I hope our vaccination clinic will keep them healthy another season.” 

Grants from TMA’s Be Wise — Immunize program and the TMA Foundation have inspired the program, now in its fifth year, and allowed it to endure, Dr. Green says. The majority of the adults vaccinated reported they have no insurance, she says, and they wouldn’t have been able to get the vaccine without this event. 

On the other side of the state, children enjoyed a Healthy Halloween Health Fair hosted by El Paso Pediatric Associates. The event included flu shots for children and their parents, also made possible through a TMA Local Impact Grant. 

Roger Hovis, operations manager at the clinic, said the practice sees a large population of kids on Medicaid and others whose parents don’t have insurance, such as migrant workers. The practice hosted the event to attract families who might otherwise not have been able to afford to get the vaccination. 

"One of the joys of pediatrics is watching our children grow,” said Rana Kronfol, MD. “Seeing them outside of the office, in Halloween costumes, brings me great joy. It helps humanize us to them and builds on our relationship. At El Paso Pediatric Associates, outreach is important." 

Meanwhile, Houston medical students at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and Baylor College of Medicine gave homeless people a double shot of protection — from flu and hepatitis A and B. The event was at HOMES Clinic, a student-run clinic that provides medical care for homeless people in Houston. 

Amy Mullikin, vice president of the TMA chapter at McGovern Medical School, said the students provide vaccinations and distributed supplies to the homeless population the clinic serves. A TMA Local Impact Grant paid for the hepatitis vaccinations to allow the recipients to complete the three-shot series, and Baylor provided the flu vaccine. 

“We were able to see the barriers to access in health care, including access to vaccinations, and help overcome these barriers for the patients we served,” said Ms. Mullikin. 

TMA members, TMA Alliance members, and medical students hosted other Local Impact Grant-funded flu events in Galveston, Garland, Manvel, Tyler, and Peñitas. 

TMA accepts applications for Local Impact Grants three times each year. Events can focus on any recommended vaccination for children and adults. TMA members, county medical societies, TMA Alliance chapters, and medical student groups can apply for grants of up to $2,500.  

Check out the Be Wise — Immunize Quick Start Manual to start planning your shot clinic. For more information about TMA’s Be Wise — Immunize program, including the Local Impact Grants, contact Tammy Wishard via email or at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1470. 

Funding for TMA’s Be Wise — ImmunizeSM is provided in 2018 by the Texas Medical Association Foundation thanks to H-E-B, TMF Health Quality Institute, Pfizer Inc., and gifts from physicians and their families.  

 

Last Updated On

November 12, 2018

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Tammy Wishard

Outreach Coordinator, Division of Communication

(512) 370-1470
Tammy Wishard

Tammy Wishard is TMA’s outreach coordinator. She manages TMA's award-winning Hard Hats for Little Heads and Be Wise — Immunize programs, and the Anson Jones, MD, Awards for excellence in health reporting. She has a 20-plus-year history with TMA, where she started as a writer/editor. Tammy, an Iowa native, is a graduate of Abilene Christian University.

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