The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Eleventh annual Flulapalooza provides faculty and students with free flu shots

VUMC hosted the event, offering free regular, egg-free and high-dose flu vaccines for university faculty and students.
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Kasey Kautz
Flyer advertising Flulapalooza, as photographed on Sept. 26, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Kasey Kautz)

Vanderbilt University Medical Center hosted its 11th annual Flulapalooza on Sept. 27 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. CDT. The event provides free flu vaccinations to university or medical center faculty, staff and students. 

Attendees had the option of receiving the regular quadrivalent inactivated vaccine, an egg-free vaccine and a stronger QIV for those over 65 years of age.

Flulapalooza was originally designed as a method of testing Vanderbilt’s emergency vaccination plan. In 2011, VUMC’s first Flulapalooza broke the Guinness World Record for Most Vaccines Given in Eight Hours by delivering 12,850 shots and greatly surpassing the previously held record by San Diego’s Kaiser Permanente. Flulapalooza was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event relies on the support of licensed clinical staff to deliver the vaccines and help the vaccinators. According VUMC’s website, non-clinical VUMC employees are welcome to work as documenters, as long as they complete a one-hour training session prior to the event. Through the gradual improvement of procedures, the website reads that the average time taken to administer a flu shot at Flulapalooza is just 55 seconds, down from the initial 90 at the first Flulapalooza in 2011.

Anna Nobis, VUMC Occupational Health Clinic medical director and Flulapalooza chief physician officer, praised the hard work of Flulapalooza 2023’s volunteers and staff.

“We’re a mighty team. Not only the team that’s here at the big tent [who have] been here since 4:30 a.m., but also our colleagues holding down the occupational health clinic during Flulapalooza,” Nobis said. “When I look out across Flulapalooza, I see people who are really dedicated, and we’re here to protect our employees and save lives.”

Nobis also emphasized her view of the importance of receiving the flu vaccine and its impact on the community.

“The flu vaccine prevents millions of visits to the physicians for the flu, and it lessens the severity of symptoms. Getting the flu vaccine is the very best action you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones,” Nobis said.

Occupational Health Clinic Business Process Manager Cindy Harrison said she has been involved in the organization and planning of Flulapalooza for the past 11 years. 

“I’m a logistical officer, so that means that I take care of all of the logistics within the event — tables, chairs, vaccines, fans, everything,” Harrison said. “I love working at Flulapalooza because it is such a great time for everybody to come together, socialize a little bit, get their flu vaccine and go on with their day.”

Donna Tidwell, a Flulapalooza 2023 volunteer, described the collaborativeness and kindness exhibited by her fellow volunteers. 

“There are so many people, and everybody’s so nice. The vaccinators are fabulous. The documenters are fabulous,” Tidwell said. “Everybody in the tent is doing something fabulous. It’s because we come together as a group, and we all work together. Nobody cares who you are or what you are.”

Lindsay Mayberry, an associate professor at the medical center and a recipient of the vaccine, said she felt the event ran smoothly and efficiently. 

“It was extremely well organized and incredibly fast. It always is, but especially this time,” Mayberry said. “I was actually an undergrad here, and I think I came the first year that they started doing it.”

Senior Hana Woolley echoed Mayberry’s comments, also pointing to the convenience of the event’s location in ensuring students can get vaccinated.   

“It’s awesome that I can get a flu shot really easily. It’s extraordinarily fast and really convenient,” Woolley said. “I just got back from work and came here. It was done in five minutes, and now I can go home.”

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About the Contributors
Swarada Kulkarni
Swarada Kulkarni, Staff Writer
Swarada Kulkarni (‘27) is majoring in neuroscience in the College of Arts and Science. Outside of writing for The Hustler, she enjoys singing, reading books and exploring new restaurants with her friends. She can be reached at [email protected].
Kasey Kautz
Kasey Kautz, Deputy Photography Editor
Kasey Kautz (‘27) is from Weiser, Idaho, and is planning to double major in psychology and medicine, health and society in the College of Arts and Science. When not taking photographs for The Hustler, Kasey enjoys music, volleyball and spending time with friends. He can be reached at [email protected].
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