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Volunteers needed for Flulapalooza mass vaccination event

Sep. 13, 2018, 8:46 AM

by Tavia Smith

Flulapalooza is quickly approaching and non-clinical volunteers are needed for the event that vaccinates thousands of faculty, staff and students.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s eighth annual Flulapalooza will be held Wednesday, Sept. 26, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in a large tent erected between Light Hall and the Veteran’s Administration (VA) Hospital.

Faculty, staff, students and volunteers from the Medical Center and Vanderbilt University are encouraged to receive a flu shot during the event which offers the vaccination at no charge.

This year’s event will continue to offer three vaccine choices: high-dose, recommended for those age 65 and older, egg-free for those with egg allergies and standard Quadrivalent (the four-component vaccine).

To help Flulapalooza run smoothly, all employees can participate and should receive prior approval from their supervisor before volunteering for shifts, which are either for two or three hours.

Supervisors and managers should be aware that the volunteer time approved for the event will be compensated from the employee’s department and not through the Flulapalooza event. Volunteers can register online at

“Volunteering to be a part of the Flulapalooza staff is a wonderful way to help protect co-workers, friends and patients and bring the community together,” said Lori Rolando, MD, MPH, director of the Vanderbilt Occupational Health Clinic (OHC). “Whether participating in Flulapalooza by getting your flu shot or by volunteering, everyone involved plays an integral role in making the event a success.”

Documenters and Patient Flow helpers are needed. For more information go here.

Last year, 13,938 people received free flu shots during Flulapalooza, a 12-hour event, which helps to assure that Vanderbilt protects its faculty, staff, volunteers, students, and thereby its patients, from the flu. This event is not open to family members.

VUMC policy requires annual influenza vaccination or an exemption to be submitted for all faculty and staff. Exemptions may be for religious or personal/philosophical beliefs or for medical contraindications.

Those who wish to be exempted from receiving the flu vaccine must submit an exemption request by Oct. 1. A link to the exemption request is on the OHC website at

Faculty and staff are strongly encouraged to carefully review the consequences for non-compliance that are outlined in the updated VUMC Immunization Policy. VUMC faculty or staff members who remain non-compliant with the policy requirements after Dec. 3 may no longer be allowed to perform their normal responsibilities and could face disciplinary action.

For those unable to attend Flulapalooza, OHC will also offer flu shots at its sixth floor location in the Medical Arts Building.

All current employees must comply and receive the flu shot by Monday, Dec. 3.

Getting the flu shot at Flulapalooza is quicker than walking to Occupational Health, or an off-site location, she added.

The event also gives employees and volunteers a head start on protection from a potentially aggressive flu season.

Flu season in the United States can begin as early as October and last until May, according to the CDC, which recommends that everyone at least 6 months old should be vaccinated to protect themselves and those around them from the flu.

Catherine Qian, NP, manager of OHC, said each year the Flulapalooza planning committee works to create a festival-like tone to make the event both efficient and fun for all involved.

Each year, the goal of Flulapalooza is to vaccinate more people.

“For those unable to attend Flulapalooza, OHC will also offer flu shots at its sixth-floor location in the Medical Arts Building and at various onsite locations. You can check the onsite schedule at (


  • Wear short sleeves or have sleeves rolled up
  • Don’t forget your Vanderbilt University/Medical Center ID badge
  • Stagger staff participation
  • Submit exemption request by Oct. 1
  • Food and drink are not allowed in the tent.
  • Photography may be in progress if media is present

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