Free flu shots for campus community begin tomorrow

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As falling autumn temperatures indicate, influenza season is right around the corner. At UNMC, The Nebraska Medical Center and UNMC Physicians, the 2013-14 vaccination season — beginning tomorrow with a clinic from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the lower Storz Pavilion — will build on last year’s success and opportunities.

Last year, more than 88 percent of faculty, staff, physicians and students received vaccinations, and more than 99 percent completed an online form designed to track vaccinations.

All health care providers, students and employees are expected to document their vaccination status in the database (receipt of vaccine, reason for vaccine declination or vaccination received elsewhere). A goal of 90 percent has been set for vaccination receipt. This includes The Nebraska Medical Center, UNMC, UNMC Physicians, Bellevue Medical Center and Clarkson College.

Frequently asked questions

Who should get the shot? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that all persons greater than six months of age receive the flu vaccine. It is especially important for health care workers and those at high risk of complication from the flu to receive the vaccine. Those at high risk of complications from the flu include pregnant women, children under 5 years of age, persons aged 65 and older and persons with chronic medical conditions and those who care for them.

When can I get the shot? Patients and staff can be vaccinated in their patient care areas beginning in October. Some groups (i.e., medical students, nursing students, etc.) have arranged for special clinics. Watch for information from your leadership. Open clinics begin Oct. 22 and run through Dec. 3.

Why is the vaccination important? Vaccination helps protect our patients and staff from illness. In addition, The Joint Commission and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) continue their initiative to increase influenza vaccination in health care institutions and require them to report the rate of flu vaccination. Our tracking system helps encourage influenza vaccination and better track our success and comply with these programs.

Tracking of vaccinations must be completed by Dec. 31 to comply with national reporting requirements.

A variety of venues are available to receive the vaccine:

  • Open clinics beginning today. (View the full schedule in the sidebar at right.)
  • Clinic and inpatient units. (Staff assigned to clinics and inpatient units can receive vaccination on their units.)
  • Special clinics — Some student groups and specialized employees will have specific clinics established. Contact your departmental leadership for additional information.
  • Offsite. (VA, private physician, retail pharmacy.)

The online system will enable you to easily input where you received your vaccine or your reasons for declination.

“Vaccination is the single best means to prevent influenza,” said Mark Rupp, M.D., infectious diseases consultant and medical director for infection control and epidemiology. “Health care providers have a moral and ethical responsibility to protect their patients and provide safe care.”

As in the past, the vaccine is provided free of charge to all employees and students. Patients and staff can receive a vaccine any time during the flu season as long as the vaccine is available. Remember to bring your employee ID badge when receiving the vaccine. It is also recommended you complete the online consent form prior to receiving the vaccine, if possible.

Employees can also reach scheduling information and the consent form by clicking on the link under the “You vs. the Flu” badge on the UNMC Today homepage.

The Intranet link only works for those logging in to the intranet on campus. For those off campus there is a link on the UNMC-Email Limited Secure Access portal. Access the link here.

If you have any questions, please contact the Pharmacy Department at 559-6041, Infection Control and Epidemiology at 559-5276 or Employee Health at 552-3563.

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