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Flu Season Starts Soon - Get a Free Shot
Durham, NC - In 2011, the seasonal flu barely made an appearance among staff and faculty across campus. With the new season starting in early October, employees can get a head start on another healthy fall and winter.
Beginning Sept. 19, all Duke employees can receive a free influenza vaccination with a valid DukeCard with unique ID. Vaccinations are available from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, with the exception of noon to 2 p.m. Wednesdays in the Employee Occupational Health and Wellness (EOHW) office on the basement level of the Red Zone of Duke Clinic. No appointment is necessary.
"It's never too early to get vaccinated, and because immunity lasts the entire flu season, faculty and staff don't have to worry about missing work or spreading the flu to loved ones," said Dr. Carol Epling, director of Employee Occupational Health and Wellness. "Thanks to an informed and active employee population, last year's seasonal flu was held at bay so we're hopeful we'll have a repeat of that again."
To help maximize the availability of flu vaccinations, Duke will extend hours for shots this month. From Sept. 19 to 28, extra hours will be available at the EOHW offices from 7:30 to 4:30 Monday to Friday with no break on Wednesdays. The normal schedule with a two-hour break on Wednesdays will begin Oct. 1.
Duke will also host a vaccination clinic with special times outside 1700A Duke Hospital from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Sept. 19 and from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sept. 20 to 28.
Last year, about 20,000 Duke employees were vaccinated against the flu, meaning nearly 60 percent of all employees were vaccinated for free at Duke. It was about 2,300 more vaccinations than the previous year's record number.
In addition to shots made available at the Employee Occupational Health and Wellness office, staff will also hold flu vaccination throughout the university and Health System. The first will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 3 at the University Development offices off Main Street. Other flu vaccination clinics will be at Smith Warehouse, the American Tobacco Campus and other locations. Clinics run through October and a full list can be found on Duke's "Fight the Flu" website.
Epling said this year's flu vaccine contains new protection for two strains of flu as well as a previously covered H1N1 strain. Even if Duke community members received a shot last year, it's still recommended to receive a new vaccination because the duration of a vaccination doesn't last long enough to protect a person through two flu seasons. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest all people 6 months of age and older receive a flu shot annually and as early in the season as possible.
North Carolina typically sees its peak of flu cases in January.
In addition to the vaccination, Epling said faculty and staff can protect against the flu by maintaining good hygiene.
"We hear it a lot, but staying healthy during flu season can be as easy as getting a vaccination, washing your hands and staying home when you're sick," she said. "Adhering to these guidelines will help keep faculty and staff healthy and minimize any potential spread of flu."
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