September 24, 2020
While Texans try to avoid COVID-19 this fall and winter, they have a weapon to protect them from influenza: a flu shot. Uninsured and underinsured people in 11 Texas communities will be able to get an influenza, or flu, vaccination, thanks to grants totaling nearly $25,000 from the Texas Medical Association’s (TMA’s) Be Wise – ImmunizeSM program.
Physicians, TMA Alliance volunteers, and medical student chapters will provide free flu vaccinations at shot clinics in their communities throughout September, October, and November. Events will occur in Belton, The Colony, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Galveston, Houston, Lubbock, Paris, Round Rock, and San Antonio. (See below for details about events in your area.)
The best prevention from the illness that strikes Texans each year is a flu vaccination, and that’s why physicians urge everyone older than 6 months of age to get an annual flu shot. In 2018-19, only 43.3% of Texas adults got a flu shot, below the national average of 45.3%.
Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and develop complications, such as pneumonia and even death. For some – elderly people, young children, pregnant women, and people with chronic medical conditions – the flu’s complications are more common.
During each of the past two flu seasons, more than 10,000 Texan children and adults died of flu-related illness, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“The past two flu seasons have been severe, and we want to avoid having another difficult flu season on top of COVID-19,” TMA Foundation President Susan Pike, MD, of Round Rock, said. “Our grant funding will help Texans get vaccinated to avoid flu, missed work, and possible hospitalization or even death.”
Given concerns over more hospitalizations because of COVID-19 in the coming months, physicians say it’s crucial that Texans prevent hospitalization from flu complications this year. Getting a flu shot can achieve that.
TMA created the Be Wise – Immunize Local Impact Grants program in 2012 to enable members of TMA and the TMA Alliance (a volunteer, community service and advocacy organization comprising physicians, spouses, and partners) 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.
TMA has awarded 129 Local Impact Grants totaling $275,000 to provide nearly 16,000 vaccinations across the state. The TMA Foundation, the association’s philanthropic arm, funds Be Wise – Immunize and the Local Impact Grants.
Upcoming vaccination events funded by these TMA-awarded grants (listed chronologically) are:
- Sacred Heart Community Clinic (620 Round Rock West Dr.) in Round Rock began offering flu shots to its clients in early September during clinic appointments.
- University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine TMA Chapter will give flu shots to refugees living in Fort Worth at Ladera Palms Apartments (4500 Campus Dr.) on Sept. 26 and at Fountain Corner Apartments (4151 SW Loop 820) on Oct. 10.
- Naureen I. Agha, MD, will provide flu shots at a drive-through event on Sept. 27 at City of Knowledge (5000 Main St.) in The Colony.
- Lubbock County Medical Society Alliance, in conjunction with the South Plains Immunization Network (SPIN), will provide flu vaccinations on Sept. 27 for clients of Carpenter’s Kitchen (1810 Main St.) in Lubbock. Pneumonia and hepatitis A vaccinations also will be available. On Oct. 27, clients at the South Plains Food Bank (5605 MLK Jr. Blvd.) can receive flu and pneumonia vaccinations.
- Bell County Medical Society will give flu shots to adults at the Body of Christ Community Clinic (2210-B Holland Rd. behind Helping Hands Ministry) in Belton on Oct. 8.
- The UT Health San Antonio Long School of Medicine TMA Chapter will provide flu shots for patients at PRIDE Community Clinic (303 N. Frio St., inside the AARC Health Equity Clinic), a free clinic serving the LGBTQ community, in San Antonio on Oct. 17. The chapter also will host a flu vaccine drive at Alpha Home (419 E. Magnolia), a women’s rehabilitation center, in October.
- The University of Texas Medical Branch School of Medicine Family Medicine lnterest Group will give flu shots in Galveston at The Luke Society Clinic (1903 Church St.) on Oct. 17 and Nov. 14. Vaccinations to prevent bacterial pneumonia, and a combined vaccination to prevent whooping cough (pertussis) and tetanus also will be available.
- El Paso Pediatric Associates will provide flu vaccinations to children and their families at a drive-through Healthy Halloween Health Fair in El Paso (1160 Saddle Bronc Dr.) on Oct. 24.
- Lamar-Delta County Medical Society and Paris-Lamar County Health District will give flu shots to local adults at its seventh annual drive-through clinic at the First Federal Community Bank in Paris (3010 Northeast Loop 286) on Oct. 24.
- Travis County Medical Society Alliance will host a drive-through flu shot clinic on Oct. 24 at Sacred Heart Community Clinic campus (620 Round Rock West Dr.) in Round Rock.
- The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School TMA Chapter and Café Momentum, in conjunction with the Care Van®, will provide flu shots in Dallas on Oct. 24 at Café Momentum (1510 Pacific Ave.). Other childhood vaccinations will be available for Café Momentum interns and their families.
- McGovern Medical School at UT Health TMA Chapter will partner with the HOMES Clinic, a student-run medical clinic for homeless people, to offer flu vaccinations at the Beacon homeless shelter (1212 Prairie St.) in Houston on Nov. 22.
TMA actively works to improve vaccination rates in Texas through its Be Wise – Immunize program. Nearly 390,000 shots have been given to Texas children, adolescents, and adults since the program began in 2004. Be Wise – Immunize is funded in 2020 by the TMA Foundation, thanks to major support from H-E-B and Permian Basin Youth Chavarim, and generous donations from physicians and their families and other donors.
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 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. The TMA Foundation raises funds to support the population health, science, and quality-of-care priority initiatives of TMA and the Family of Medicine.
Contact: Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320
Marcus Cooper (512) 370-1382; cell: (512) 650-5336
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