by Luciana Starks
City of Hope is encouraging staff members to protect against the flu by receiving the flu vaccine — and they can get the shot free of charge.
The medical center started offering flu vaccines to employees at flu shot clinics this month. They are expected to run until the end of October.
The injected vaccine uses inactivated virus. (Photo by p.cunningham)
“Our flu shot clinics are off to a great start,” said George Vukazich, director in the Department of Human Resources. “Over 1,400 employees received the flu vaccine during the first two days of our clinics.”
The nation’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention touts the flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against the influenza viruses most likely to cause flu epidemics.
This year, City of Hope has adopted a new mandatory flu virus participation program for medical center employees to better protect patients. Medical center employees who choose not to receive the flu vaccine will be required to wear a regular isolation mask while in any City of Hope building that houses an inpatient or outpatient care area.
Employees who opt to get their flu shots elsewhere should choose injected vaccines, Vukazich said, because nose-spray vaccines use live virus, which could be shed and pose a risk to patients.
Employee Health Services will administer flu shots at all upcoming benefits fairs (see page 3 for a schedule of benefits fairs) as well as flu shot clinics announced by email.
Staff members must show their City of Hope identification card to be vaccinated.
People who have a severe allergy to eggs or any vaccine component should not get the vaccine. Those with a history of Guillian-Barre syndrome should check with their doctor before receiving the vaccine. Pregnant women should check with their doctor for recommendations on flu immunization during pregnancy.
For more information, call Employee Health Services, ext. 62713.