Hidalgo County Health and Human Services and The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Office of Emergency Preparedness on Friday, March 9, 2018 partnered to offer 500 free flu vaccines to all first responders, UTRGV faculty, staff, their families and the public.


The Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, along with the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and its Board of Directors, lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents on matters that benefit and protect UTRGV and its School of Medicine, which have major campuses in the city.


The three-station setup was located at the UTRGV CESS Building parking lot in Edinburg, and offered a glimpse into what an emergency immunization procedure would look like.


Patients drove through the first station, where they filled out brief paperwork, and moved on to a second station, where nurses waited to administer the vaccine.


At the third and final station, nurses briefly observed the patients for any immediate reactions to the shot, and gave out light refreshments.


And at no point did patients have to leave their vehicle.


“The purpose of this clinic is to take advantage of an opportunity to partner with the university, provide free flu vaccinations to the community, and to demonstrate to the public that we can handle a mass vaccination clinic,” said Eddie Olivarez, chief administrative officer of Hidalgo County Health and Human Services.


On March 9, 2018, 62 people received vaccines, with the average time to process the patient and administer the vaccine at about five minutes per individual.


Nelda Minder, program coordinator at Hidalgo County Health and Human Services, said getting flu shots annually is important, especially for people who are at risk.


“We start with people with respiratory problems, the elderly, the very young, maternities — we want them to be the first to come out and get vaccinated. But of course, we want to encourage everyone to get their flu shot annually,” Méndez said.


Amanda Taylor, a member of the UTRGV News and Internal Communications staff, had never received a flu vaccination before and was hesitant to do so, at first. After speaking with Méndez about the risks of contracting the flu, she decided to go through with it.


“I’ve never been vaccinated for the flu before, but I thought it would be a good idea to take advantage of the opportunity,” she said. “There have been so many cases of people contracting the flu, lately, that I figured this was the best way to protect myself from getting the virus.”