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School and Program Updates

School and Program Updates

South Florida: Fighting the Flu for 22 Years

The University of South Florida College of Public Health hosted its annual Free Flu Shot Drive on Friday, Oct. 19.

In its 22nd year, the drive provided 886 doses of the flu vaccine on a first come, first served basis, to the Tampa Bay community.

The longstanding community service is a collaboration between the College of Public Health, the College of Nursing, the Morsani College of Medicine, USF Health and the Florida Department of Health – Hillsborough County.

USF nursing and medical students, who have already successfully completed clinical training, administered the shots under the clinical supervision of an interdisciplinary team.

Ms. Margaret Ewen, registered nurse and CON adjunct faculty instructor, and MCOM faculty are among those who supervised students.

“We had a much more interprofessional focus this year, with undergraduate and graduate public health students leading educational exhibits and nursing, medical, pharmacy and physician assistant students administering the flu shots,” said Ms. Ellen Kent, faculty coordinator for the USF Health Service Corps.

The event also included educational displays from public health student and community groups, on topics ranging from genetic counseling to information on protecting yourself against infections.

According to the Florida Department of Health, it is estimated that between 15 percent and 40 percent of the population will develop illness from influenza every year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone six months of age and older receive the flu vaccine, as the contagious respiratory virus can lead to severe illness or even death, placing children under five, pregnant women and adults ages 65 and older at higher risk.

Flu season typically runs from October to May in the U.S., with peaks occurring between December and February, according to the CDC. To view the latest influenza surveillance tracking data, visit the CDC’s FluView webpage.

Story by Ms. Caitlin Keough, USF College of Public Health