NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - In an effort to help prevent the spread of influenza as flu season kicks off, East Texas Community Health Center (ETCHC) and nursing students from Stephen F. Austin State University are teaming up to offer free flu shots during the Piney Woods Fair in Nacogdoches.
On Friday, SFA nursing students helped fill goodie bags for fair guests who received the flu shot. Organizers said the fair is a perfect opportunity to maximize outreach in the community.
“East Texas Community Health, being an [Federally Qualified Health Center] and a community health center, looks for places to do outreach for the community,” said Anita Humphreys, interim CEO of East Texas Community Health Center. “What better place than the Piney Woods Fair? It’s one of the largest attended community events in our area.
“So, when we’re looking at places where we can give the most outreach, this is certainly one of those places.”
The East Texas Community Health Center is prepared to administer at least 2,000 flu vaccines to anyone over 4-years-old; children under 4 will need the authorization to receive a special immunization from their general care provider.
Federal funding allows the ETCHC to offer outreach similar to free flu vaccines on a year-round basis.
“Through funds available through our health center grant, as well as other private foundations and state contracts, we’re able to buy the vaccines... and then provide [them] to the community at a low-cost, no-cost,” Humphreys explained.
Humphreys said the ETCHC provided fair guests with more than 1,000 free flu shots during the 2018 fair.
On top of the funding which allows ETCHC to offer free flu shots, Humphreys said what makes the event so successful is working with SFA nursing students to ensure both organizations benefit from the community outreach.
“We have staff who can give flu shots, however, we are open during the day to perform our regular primary care,” Humphreys said. “So, being able to partner with SFA, as one of the larger community entities as well, gives them the ability to get some of their clinical skills and gives us the ability to cover that time frame for everybody, and not have to stretch either organization.”
The 2019 Piney Woods Fair runs from Wednesday, Oct. 9 through Sunday, Oct. 13. Nursing students from SFA will be there each day to administer the vaccines.