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More than 5,000 shots given at first campus flu clinic of the semester

A second clinic will take place Friday, Oct. 16 in the Stratton Student Center.
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The first 2015 flu clinic was held at Walker Memorial on Oct. 1.
The first 2015 flu clinic was held at Walker Memorial on Oct. 1.
Photo: Kim Schive

With 5,028 shots administered in six hours, MIT Medical’s first campus flu clinic of 2015, held in Walker Memorial on Oct. 1, lived up to its reputation as one of the most efficient operations at the Institute. During the clinic’s peak hour — from 2 to 3 p.m. — clinicians administered 949 shots, or roughly one shot every four seconds.

“We were going fast,” Associate Medical Director David Diamond agrees. “So fast that often the shot was done before the person knew it,” he laughs. “But I always reassured them that I'd really given them a shot. I did not miss any arms all day!”

First-time clinic attendee Barbara Johnson, an Information Systems and Technology consumer support engineer, called the clinic “the best-run operation at MIT, hands down.” And graduate student Laura Eckman tweeted, “Continually impressed by ‪@MITmedical flu clinic. Over 100 people ahead of me in line, still in & out in 8 min.”

“I’m always amazed at the way so many people come together every year and make handling more than 5,000 patients look like just another day’s work,” marvels MIT Medical Executive Director Deborah Friscino. “Our own people are incredible, but we couldn’t do it without the support of others from all around the Institute who volunteer to help with everything from setup and checking the wireless signal strength, to passing out forms, crowd control, and helping to clean up after the last shot of the day has been given.”

For the second year in a row, most clinic attendees were able to scan their MIT IDs when they checked in, allowing flu vaccine information to be automatically entered into their electronic medical records. “Patients who have FollowMyHealth accounts with MIT Medical, can just log on and print out documentation of their immunization if they need it,” notes clinic organizer Phyllis Winn, an administrative coordinator at MIT Medical.

A second clinic is scheduled for this Friday, Oct. 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the second floor of the Stratton Student Center (Building W20). It’s open to all eligible members of the MIT community, ages 10 and up, and Diamond urges attendees to “dress for success by wearing clothing that allows easy access to the upper arm.” Individuals who can’t make it to a clinic can call the MIT Medical Flu Line at 617-253-4865 to schedule a vaccination appointment.

The 2015-16 flu vaccine offered at MIT is quadrivalent, protecting against two strains of influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2) and two strains of influenza B. The strains were selected to give broader, better coverage than last year’s vaccine. Active flu strains are different each year, so individuals who got flu shots last year must still get this year’s vaccine to be protected.

For more information about getting a flu vaccination from MIT Medical and other ways to protect yourself from influenza, visit MIT Flu Central.

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