Men and women without a roof over their heads are more vulnerable to the flu than those with homes. That’s why Tennessee Urgent Care Associates, LLC (TUCA) provided free flu shot immunizations to the homeless at the Nashville Rescue Mission on January 13th and January 22nd.
Carolyn Ingram, Director of Marketing and Medical Assistant for TUCA approached CFO Mike Pearson, co-owners George Herda, M.D. and Robert Cranfield, M.D. and Director of Operations Eddie Stahl with the idea of offering free vaccinations to the homeless as a way to give back to the community as well as protect the community at-large.
“It is important that as much of the population as possible gets immunized against strains of the flu virus in order to minimize spreading,” advises George Herda, M.D.
“Homeless people are particularly susceptible to flu and its complications because they typically are not getting adequate health care to begin with,” added Carolyn Ingram. “They often also have other debilitating conditions that make them vulnerable, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma.”
“A lot of people worry about getting the flu from the flu shot itself,” said Eddie Stahl. “But the flu shot contains a killed virus, so you can’t catch the flu from receiving the flu shot.”
According to the CDC, each vaccine contains three influenza viruses: one A (H3N2) virus, one A (H1N1) virus, and one B virus. The viruses in the vaccine change each year based on international surveillance and scientists’ estimations about which types and strains of viruses will circulate in a given year.
“I can’t afford to get sick,” said Robert Torian, who is enrolled in the Mission’s Life-Recovery Program. “The shot keeps me from getting sick and getting the flu. I don’t have insurance so this is absolutely a blessing.”
“We are grateful for Tennessee Urgent Care’s efforts in taking care of the poor,” explains Cliff Tredway, Director of PR & Marketing Nashville Rescue Mission. “Life on the streets during Tennessee winters are sometimes a life or death equation. Influenza and homelessness is a dangerous combination.”
Health professionals want vulnerable people vaccinated because the flu can become serious. According to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 36,000 people nationwide die of flu or its complications each year, and another 200,000 are hospitalized.
The Nashville Rescue Mission says thank you to Tennessee Urgent Care Associates and specifically Carolyn Ingram, Eddie Stahl, and volunteer Janie Copeland for volunteering their time, resources and energy to protect our homeless community against a flu outbreak.
For more information on TUCA clinic locations and hours, visit www.tnurgentcare.com or call 615-263-8822.