Prevent the flu with a free seasonal vaccine
During flu season, Karen Herndon stays healthy by washing her hands, keeping hand sanitizer on her desk and getting the annual flu shot.
Last year, she got two vaccines: one for seasonal flu; the other to protect her against the 2009 H1N1 virus.
"I was around people who had the flu last year, and I didn't get it, so it definitely benefited me," said Herndon, a staff assistant in the Department of Statistical Science. She's received a free flu shot from Duke for 10 years. "I just don't want to take the risk of something happening and catching the flu."
Beginning Sept. 27 through the winter months, Employee Occupational Health and Wellness (EOHW) is providing the annual influenza vaccination at no charge to Duke faculty and staff with a valid DukeCard. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises that anyone over 6 months old should receive a seasonal flu shot. This year's vaccine is one shot and protects against three different flu viruses, including the H1N1 virus that caused so much illness last season.
The vaccines will be given in the EOHW offices on the basement level of the Red Zone in Duke South between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, except noon to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays. Clinics will also be set up in buildings and offices throughout the fall and winter. Flu activity commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February.
More than 16,000 Duke employees received a free seasonal flu shot last year, and about 10,000 employees got a separate vaccine to protect against 2009 H1N1 virus.
"We hope that means many people started a tradition of getting a shot every year, which doesn't just benefit them, but everyone at Duke too," said Dr. George Jackson, director of EOHW, who encourages all Duke faculty and staff to get the influenza vaccination to protect against the serious virus and help limit the spread of infection.
Dr. Cameron Wolfe, clinical associate with the Duke Preparedness and Response Center, said it's especially important for faculty and staff to get a shot if they're pregnant, have chronic illnesses or are over age 65. Wolfe added that a vaccine is also recommended for Health System employees who interact with patients.
"Health care staff with patient contact are responsible for the care of very high-risk patients and because of that, are especially encouraged to get a vaccine for their patient's safety," Wolfe said. "The best way to prevent influenza is by getting the flu vaccine every year."