Stony Brook Medicine Readies for Flu Season
As the nation braces for another flu season, nearly 5,700 Stony Brook faculty, staff and students are prepared
STONY BROOK, N.Y., October 24, 2013 – Stony Brook Medicine Employee Health and Wellness and the Hospital Emergency Management Team have to date vaccinated almost 5,700 faculty, staff and students on the Stony Brook Medicine campus. Click here for photos.
According to updated New York State Department of Health regulations, all hospital and outpatient personnel, volunteers, students, doctors, and vendor representatives who are not vaccinated against influenza are required to wear a surgical or procedure mask during influenza season while working in areas where patients may be present. This is meant to protect both our patients and their visitors, as well as healthcare professionals. “Vaccination is the best way to prevent getting the flu and infecting others,” said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., whose medical specialty is Infectious Disease, and who receives a flu vaccine from the Stony Brook Medicine Employee Health and Wellness Department every year. “It is of the utmost importance to our patients and our peers for all healthcare providers who can tolerate the vaccine to be immunized.”
Employee Health and Wellness started dispensing the vaccination on September 16. In one month their program has vaccinated 4,388 hospital staff. On October 17, the Hospital Emergency Management Team POD (Point of Dispensing) exercise administered 1, 258 flu shots in 12 hours, almost doubling the amount from last year’s event.
“At a time when mandatory immunizations has proven challenging for other healthcare organizations, it has been gratifying to see the members of Stony Brook Medicine take the lead in ensuring that they, their patients and colleagues are protected,” said Dr. L. Reuven Pasternak, CEO, Stony Brook University Hospital. “This is a great example of dedication to doing what is best for the community and demonstrates leadership by all.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older should get their yearly flu vaccine, ideally by October. Traditional flu vaccines -- called trivalent vaccines – provide protection against three flu viruses; an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus. This season, there are flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses (called quadrivalent vaccines) - the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine plus an additional B virus.
Due to the outstanding number of cases during the 2012-2013 flu season, the CDC is expecting increased numbers of flu activity in the coming weeks. Yearly vaccinations are the first and most important steps in protecting against the flu. A flu vaccine can reduce flu illness, doctor’s visits, missed work days, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.
Photo Caption: Maria Loret de Mola, NP and Clinical Coordinator of Employee Health & Wellness issues President Stanley his annual flu vaccine