March 7, 2019
Senior citizens in Lubbock will receive vaccinations to prevent pneumococcal pneumonia, thanks to a grant from the Texas Medical Association’s (TMA’s) Be Wise – Immunize℠ program. TMA recently awarded a $2,200 grant to the Lubbock County Medical Society (CMS) Alliance to help provide the free vaccinations.
“A vaccine can prevent pneumococcal pneumonia, which sends many elderly people to the hospital,” said TMA Foundation (TMAF) President Leslie H. Secrest, MD, of Dallas. “Our grant funding will help these Lubbock residents avoid an illness that can have serious, even deadly, consequences.”
Volunteers from the Lubbock CMS Alliance, a member of the South Plains Immunization Network, will provide 40 vaccinations to Lubbock Meals on Wheels recipients in March. It is a multistep process: Clients who are insured through Medicare or Medicaid will receive, with their lunch delivery, an invitation to call the City of Lubbock Health Department to request a vaccination. If a client hasn’t been vaccinated, a volunteer nurse will come to the patient’s home to give the vaccination.
Janice Stachowiak, MD, a Lubbock internal medicine physician, is spearheading the event.
“We want to help people who are at risk for pneumonia and remove any barriers to them getting vaccinated,” she said. “Many are home-bound, so it’s hard for them to find transportation for routine medical care.”
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) says many Texans have to be hospitalized because of pneumococcal pneumonia, though often it could have been prevented. In 2014, bacterial pneumonia resulted in 39,843 hospitalizations, costing the state $1.76 billion. DSHS reports 131 Texans died from pneumococcal pneumonia in 2017; most deaths occurred in adults aged 50 and older.
That is why physicians recommend the pneumonia vaccination for all adults. For full coverage against pneumococcal disease, which also can cause meningitis and bloodstream infections, doctors recommend two different vaccinations for adults over 65 and others with certain health conditions. Lubbock residents will receive the vaccine that provides protection against pneumonia.
The Lubbock Alliance has received grants from TMA previously, for three flu-shot events in 2015-17. This project will target Meals on Wheels clients in lower-income ZIP codes of Lubbock.
The Be Wise – Immunize Local Impact Grants program funds the grants to enable members of TMA and the TMA Alliance (an organization of physician volunteers and their 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.
Since 2012, TMA’s Local Impact Grants program has awarded 105 grants totaling more than $203,000 to provide more than 13,000 vaccinations across the state. Be Wise – Immunize and the Local Impact Grants are funded by TMAF, TMA’s philanthropic arm.
TMA actively works to improve vaccination rates in Texas through its Be Wise – Immunize program. More than 360,000 shots have been given to Texas children, adolescents, and adults since the program began in 2004. TMAF funds the Be Wise program in 2019 through generous support from H-E-B, TMF Health Quality Institute, Pfizer Inc., and gifts from physicians and their families.
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing nearly 53,000 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.
Be Wise — Immunize is a service mark of the Texas Medical Association.
TMA Contacts: 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
Connect with TMA on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Check out MeAndMyDoctor.com for interesting and timely news on health care issues and policy.