USF Health helps make life better with free flu shots

Faculty, staff, students and residents  from the community lined up for free  flu shots at the USF College of Public Health throughout the day on Friday, Oct. 25.   More than 1,300 vaccines were administered this year —  up from 1,100 last year.

This was the 17th year that the College sponsored the free flu vaccination  drive, a collaboration of  the USF College of Public Health, USF Health, and the Hillsborough County Health Department.

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USF nursing student Noor Tamari prepares to administer a flu shot to USF President Judy Genshaft.

The community service is truly a USF Health-wide effort.  Shots were administered, under the supervision of occupational medicine residents, by nursing and medical students recruited by USF Health Services Corps Coordinator Ellen Kent, MPH.  Public health students greeted guests, staffed the registration table and created educational exhibits.  Pharmacy students also staffed one of the exhibits.

Among those rolling up their sleeves were USF President Judy Genshaft and Donna Petersen, ScD, interim senior vice president for USF Health and dean of the College of Public Health.

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Donna Petersen, ScD, interim senior vice president for USF Health and dean of the College of Public Health, shows her enthusiastic support for influenza prevention as nursing student Summer Taysser Abukhodeir administers the vaccination.

“Flu shots are the single best means of preventing  influenza  – but unlike other vaccines, you must get one every year,”  Dr. Petersen said. “As health professionals, it is critical that each of us at USF Health gets our annual flu shot, not only to protect ourselves, but also to protect the communities that we serve.”

Besides creating a debilitating respiratory illness that can sideline those infected for weeks, with complications sometimes leading to hospitalizations, the flu bug  also kills, on average, more than 23,000 persons per year in the United States — 90 percent of them over the age of 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Nursing student Brittany Biega is intent on her injection technique.

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L to R: Third-semester nursing classmates Alyssa King, Monicea Haynes, and Gina Robinson.

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Photos by Eric Younghans and Klaus Herdocia, USF Health Communications

For a Photo Gallery of the flu shot drive provided by Ellen Kent, USF College of Public Health, click here.