BRYAN, Texas — Texas A&M has been hosting a series of free clinics for faculty, staff and their families to receive their flu shots.
Health care professionals at these clinics hope to set an example for all of the public to become vaccinated against seasonal influenza.
Dozens of Aggie employees, retirees, and their dependents flocked to the Health Science Center campus late Friday morning, including physician and TAMU College of Medicine wellness director Dr. Robert Carpenter, who thought he’d take time from his lunch break to receive a light but important injection.
"Influenza is an incredibly important disease for us to remember," Dr. Carpenter said. "It affects tens of thousands of people every year, putting them into the hospital. And millions of people across the United States and the world catch the flu.”
This clinic is just one of many open throughout the month of Oct. to Aggie employees and their families. But Dr. Carpenter said he’d like to see more than just his colleagues getting vaccinated. He feels everyone, both adults and kids, should consider the flu shot.
"There’s many different places where you can go and get these vaccines, whether it’s at your local pharmacy, something like a pharmacy at an H-E-B or Kroger’s, or your primary care physician," he pointed out.
Dr. Frank North, an assistant instructional professor with the College of Medicine, was on scene supervising Friday.
Dr. North said he recognizes that right now, many people feel hesitant or have a lack of trust in the healthcare system and vaccines. He expressed his hope to spread helpful information to Aggieland’s diverse communities; that vaccines like the flu shot are safe, and help the body build strength against viruses.
“I think we have a lot of individuals that are really nervous about things, and think we push vaccines on them," said Dr. North. "... We want patients to really sit and make their own decisions, but as health care professionals we’re also charged with being public health professionals ... so, preventing things from happening, preventing death from happening.”
Dr. Angela Mulcahy, clinical associate professor with the College of Nursing, brought her nursing students to administer the vaccines on Friday. She also received the shot herself.
Dr. Mulcahy noted that with a constant cultural barrage of messaging about COVID-19 vaccinations, some people may be reluctant or apathetic towards getting their flu shot. But like her colleague North, she hopes the public will feel encouraged to get their immunizations, not pressured.
“I noticed that even in just talking to people, explaining that I was having my vaccine today, [saying] ‘oh! I’m scheduled! I get my vaccination from students today," she relayed. "That brought up a lot of discussions and conversations of ‘oh, I should probably do that.’”
For a full list of flu vaccine clinics available to Texas A&M employees, click here.
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