If Lesley Stanford is going to talk the talk about getting a flu shot, then she’s going to have to walk the walk.
That’s been her philosophy for the past 28 years at Duke Children’s Hospital, where she works as a pediatric nutritionist, often with children who have undergone kidney transplants. She’s received a flu vaccine for as long as she can remember, even before the shot became a condition of employment in the Health System and for many School of Medicine employees.
“In my own mind, it’s always been mandatory to get a shot,” she said. “Nothing is more important than the health and safety of the children we work with.”
Stanford usually gets the vaccine during the “blitz” on Sept. 21 when the Health System tries to vaccinate as many faculty and staff as early as possible, and within 24 hours, to minimize the effects of the coming flu season. Staff and faculty across Duke can get the free vaccine at roving campus clinics and at Duke Employee Occupational Health and Wellness (EOHW).
Shots are available from 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (except noon-2 p.m. Wednesday) at the EOHW office in the Orange Zone of the Duke Clinic. A valid DukeID must be presented, and no appointment is necessary.
EOHW offers shots until the end of flu season, usually early April, but the compliance deadline for health systems employees to get their shot is 12:01 a.m. Nov. 1.
The School of Nursing and Student Health also provides flu shots to staff and faculty.
Certain Duke Primary Care locations in Durham, Orange and Wake counties will have extended and weekend hours starting September 23 to provide flu shots for children of Duke employees and dependents. No copay is necessary unless the patient sees a doctor.
Dependents not covered by a Duke health plan can receive a vaccine. Most health plans cover vaccinations and a self-pay discount is available to people without insurance coverage.
At Duke Primary Care locations, employees are encouraged to make appointments for their dependents by calling 1-855-372-1981. Walk-ins may require a longer wait time. See the Duke dependent flu shot schedule for upcoming dates and locations.
For this season, Duke will offer either the quadrivalent vaccine, which protects against four strains of flu viruses, or an egg-free option for individuals with allergies. Flu outbreaks typically begin in October and last as late as May, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The illness peaks between December and February.
“It’s one of our most important preventive measures,” said Dr. Carol Epling, director of EOHW. “It can reduce chances of getting the illness or make it less severe.”
The flu shot, or an accepted medical or religious exemption, is a condition of employment in the Health System and for many School of Medicine employees.
About 31,500 Duke employees received a vaccine or an exemption through Duke last season. North Carolina had 219 deaths related to influenza during the 2016-17 season according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
Visit the flu site http://flu.duke.edu/shots/employees.html for the vaccination schedule.