Flulapalooza to provide free flu shots for ninth year

The annual VUMC mass vaccination event will run from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 25, offering regular, egg-free and high-dose flu shots this year

Grace Lee

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is hosting its 9th annual Flulapalooza on Wednesday, Sept. 25 to provide Vanderbilt faculty, staff, volunteers and students with free flu vaccinations. The event will run all day, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., between Light Hall and the VA hospital on the Medical Center campus. 

In addition to the standard flu shot, egg-free and high-dose flu shots will be available. Egg-free and high-dose shots will only be available at Flulapalooza this year, and not at the Student Health Center. The egg-free version is designed for those with egg allergies, and the high-dose is recommended for those ages 65 and older.

“I strongly encourage students to come to Flulapalooza. It’s a fun and festive event,” Director of the Student Health Center Louise Hanson said in an email to the Hustler.

Hanson emphasized that students must bring their student IDs and should try to wear an outfit that leaves their upper arms easily accessible. Although the line for flu shots may look long, it goes quickly, Hanson said. Students who work in a clinical setting at VUMC, even briefly, are required to receive the vaccination.

Last year, Flulapalooza vaccinated approximately 13,683 people during a 12-hour period. Vanderbilt’s first Flulapalooza in 2011 broke a world record for the most people vaccinated in an eight-hour period with 12,850 vaccinations. 

Flu season, the CDC reports, is at its peak between December and February so Flulapalooza is held far enough in advance that vaccines can effectively work against the flu virus. The Student Health Center typically sees the flu peak in January or February, according to Hanson. However, it varies each year and sometimes peaks as early as Oct. Hanson said they have seen cases of the flu as late as March and April and have already seen cases of the flu this year. 

Effective flu vaccinations have a noticeable impact on the Vanderbilt student population, Hanson said. 

In addition to Flulapalooza, students are able to get a free vaccine at the Student Health Center with no appointment needed, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. For those who catch the flu, the Student Health Center is able to provide medication to speed up recovery and make sick students less contagious. Students experiencing flu symptoms such as fever, cough and aches are advised to schedule an appointment with the Student Health Center online or by phone.