October 5, 2022

Flulapalooza returns to protect thousands from flu

After a two-year pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Flulapalooza returned in person and thousands of Vanderbilt employees and students flocked to the daylong event.

Employees get the flu shot during Flulapalooza 2022 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center on Wednesday, September 28, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. This year's Flulapalooza is back in person for the first time in 2 years.

All photos by Erin O. Smith

The 10th anniversary of Flulapalooza, VUMC’s annual vaccination event, was held on Wednesday, Sept. 28, in a tent between Light Hall and the VA Hospital. After hosting two alternative flu campaigns in 2020 and 2021, VUMC’s Health and Wellness and Occupational Health Clinic team was eager to see VUMC and VU colleagues in person this year for the mass vaccination event. Judging by the numbers, the feeling was mutual.

This year, Flulapalooza served nearly 10,000 faculty, staff, postdoc scholars and students in a 12-hour period — 9,913 flu vaccinations, to be exact. The vaccines were given thanks to the collective efforts of many departments across the Medical Center. More than 300 clinical and non-clinical volunteers helped make the event possible.

Flulapalooza was more than just about administering flu vaccinations this year. Remote and work-from-home employees had an opportunity to connect with one another on campus. Many reunited face-to-face for the first time in two years and regained a sense of connectedness.

“Bringing this event back to campus is important in reducing the spread of the flu and lowering the risk of possible serious illness, hospitalization, and even death in others,” said Lori Rolando, MD, MPH, FACOEM, director of the Occupational Health Clinic. “Not only is it our mission to protect our employees against physical illness, but we also want to boost their mental and emotional well-being. Seeing everyone on campus smiling and reconnecting was great, and we hope it brought a sense of connectedness to all employees.”

Flu vaccines can take up to two weeks after being administered to provide full protection. For more information about the flu and flu vaccines, visit the OHC Employee Influenza Vaccine Program.

Carole Ann Downing, a patient care coordinator, gives her information Deborah King, a Human Resources business partner, before getting her flu shot during Flulapalooza.
LaKeysha Houston, a student pharmacist, gives a flu shot to Lacy Blanton III, a senior system administrator in the Informatics Center.
Vaccines prepared ahead of time await employees arms.
An unnamed Dodger fan gets a shot at Flulapalooza.
Haley Akers, a clinical transitional research coordinator in the Neuro-Stroke Division, gets her flu shot from Sarah Capostagno, a medical student.
Angela Purinton, a program manager in volunteer services, takes a selfie with Nashville Soccer Club’s mascot Tempo the Coyote after she got her flu shot. Flulapalooza was one of the first events to bring many employees and students together in more than two years.