October 16, 2019
As early flu season predictions suggest this one might be rough, people in communities across Texas will be protected from influenza, or flu, thanks to grants from the Texas Medical Association’s (TMA’s) Be Wise – ImmunizeSM program. TMA has awarded more than $30,000 in grants to physicians, TMA Alliance (TMAA) volunteers, and medical student chapters to provide flu shots at no cost to uninsured and underinsured Texans in their hometowns.
Shot clinics will occur throughout October and early November in 10 communities: Belton, El Paso, Fort Worth, Galveston, Houston, Paris, San Antonio, Taylor, Tyler, and Victoria. Two events already occurred in Manvel and Garland. (See below for details about events in your area.)
The flu is an illness that is much worse than a common cold and can lead to more severe illnesses such as pneumonia, and even death. The best prevention is a flu vaccination, and that’s why physicians urge everyone older than 6 months of age to get a flu shot every year.
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.
The most recent flu season (2018-19) lasted 21 weeks, longer than any other flu season in the past decade. And during the season before that (2017-18), flu killed nearly 12,000 Texans, including 17 children, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“The past two flu seasons have been particularly noteworthy, and we may be headed into another similar one,” TMA Foundation President Susan Pike, MD, of Round Rock said. “So we want to help Texans get vaccinated now to stay healthy throughout the flu season.”
TMA created the Be Wise – Immunize Local Impact Grants program in 2012 to enable members of TMA and TMAA (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.
In six years, TMA has awarded 120 Local Impact Grants totaling nearly $240,000 to provide more than 13,500 vaccinations across the state. TMAF, TMA’s philanthropic arm, funds Be Wise – Immunize and the Local Impact Grants.
The funding of these flu clinics is timely, as flu season officially began Oct. 1.
“Our grant funding will help Texans get vaccinated to avoid flu, missed work, and possible hospitalization or even death,” said Dr. Pike.
Upcoming flu vaccination events funded by these TMA-awarded grants (listed chronologically) are:
- Smith County Medical Society Alliance, along with Northeast Texas Public Health District, will provide free vaccinations for adults at the Salvation Army (633 N. Broadway) in Tyler on Oct. 18 at 4 pm.
- Maria Chapa, MD, Live Healthy Clinic, and Dancefit will provide free vaccinations for children, adults, and seniors at a community vaccination event in San Antonio on Oct. 19 from 9 am to 4 pm at St. Alphonsus Church Hall (2004 Chihuahua St.).
- University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine TMA Chapter will give flu shots to refugees living at Ladera Palms Apartments in Fort Worth on Oct. 19 from 10 am to 1 pm and at Chin Evangelical Baptist Church of Texas (175 Bellaire Blvd.) in Lewisville on Nov. 16 from 10 am to 2 pm.
- Williamson County and Cities Health District will administer free shots to Taylor residents at the LifePark Fall Festival on Oct. 19 from 10 am to 2 pm.
- Bell County Medical Society will give shots at the Body of Christ Medical Clinic (2210-B Holland Rd.) in Belton on Oct. 24 from 3 to 6 pm.
- El Paso Pediatric Associates will provide flu vaccinations at no cost to children and their families at its Healthy Halloween Health Fair in El Paso (1160 Saddle Bronc Dr.) on Oct. 26 from 8 am to noon.
- Paris-Lamar County Health District and Lamar-Delta County Medical Society will give free flu shots to local adults (18 years and older) while supplies last at its sixth annual drive-through clinic at the First Federal Community Bank in Paris (3010 Northeast Loop 286) on Oct. 26 beginning at 1 pm.
- Leilani Valdes, MD, and Citizens Medical Center will provide flu prevention information and shots to students on the University of Houston-Victoria campus (University Commons, Multi-Purpose Room) at Boo to the Flu in Victoria on Oct. 29.
- Felicity Mack, MD, Balance Medicine, and The Heights Hospital will offer shots in Houston on Nov. 2 in conjunction with a Walk With a Doc Texas event from 5 to 7 pm. She also offered shots at a Sept. 14 walk event (Pictured).
- Baylor College of Medicine and McGovern Medical School at UT Health TMA chapters 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 Nov. 3 and Dec. 1.
- The UT Health San Antonio Long School of Medicine TMA Chapter will provide shots for women at Alpha House, a rehabilitation center, in San Antonio on Nov. 7.
- The University of Texas Medical Branch School of Medicine Family Medicine lnterest Group in Galveston will give flu shots in Galveston at The Luke Society Clinic (1903 Church St.) on Nov. 9 and 16 from 8 to 9 am and at St. Vincent’s Student Clinic HOPE Health Fair (2817 Post Office St.) on Nov. 9 from 8 am to noon. Vaccinations to prevent bacterial pneumonia, and a combined vaccination to prevent whooping cough (pertussis) and tetanus also will be available.
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 has published an infographic about flu vaccination, in English and Spanish, and this video.
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.
Contact: Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320
Marcus Cooper (512) 370-1382; cell: (512) 650-5336
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