For the third year in a row, students from the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences helped students, faculty, staff and community members get their flu shots, not the flu.
Each year, 10 to 20 per cent of the Canadian population becomes infected with influenza, resulting in over 10,000 hospitalizations and over 3,000 deaths.
“Those statistics are something to take seriously,” said Dana Turcotte, assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy. “As the most accessible health care professionals in Canada, pharmacists are well-placed to offer vaccinations and to help build awareness about this important heath issue.”
Over 1,500 vaccinations were provided free of charge by the skillful hands of students from pharmacy, medicine, nursing and the physician assistant program on the Fort Garry and Bannatyne campuses.
Participants could also receive tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis booster vaccines and receive HIV screening offered on site.
“HIV screening should be considered a part of routine medical care. Offering testing that is easily accessible is one step towards normalizing HIV screening and increasing uptake,” said Turcotte. “Earlier diagnosis is crucial and we can do better.”
Along with community members who received these services free, UNICEF also benefited from the event. For every vaccination, $5 was donated to UNICEF to fund vaccine programs in developing countries.