Flu shot: Arming for the winter

Free flu shots provided by doctors and nurses at Seafood City (photo by Nimfa R. Aguila).

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By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – With winter and the flu season coming up, about 200 people, mostly Filipino-Americans, availed of free flu shots on Saturday provided by doctors and nurses at the Seafood City in Las Vegas.

A partnership of the Philippine Medical Association of Nevada and the Philippine Nurses Association, Las Vegas Chapter, the clinic was held as an educational tool as well as a community service to the community, organizers say.

“It’s our way of giving back to the community,” said Cristy Sampal, a clinical educator at University Medical Center, and president of PNA-Las Vegas. “We also want to encourage healthful practices among our people.”

A resident of Las Vegas for the past 21 years, Sampal said the free clinic was also intended to project a positive image of Filipino nurses, and showcase their skills and professionalism.

Her group has about 60 active members, with nurses comprising a big segment of the estimated 50,000 or so Filipinos in Las Vegas, the largest Asian group in the city and in the state of Nevada.

Tess Melocoton, who heads the Philippine Medical Association, Las Vegas, said the free flu shots have been conducted every year for the past several years now as a joint project with the nurses.

Also involved was the University of the East-Ramon Magsaysay Medical Center Alumni Association, the Southern Nevada Health District, the Las Vegas Lion’s Club, and several sponsors, including Jollibee and Seafood City.

“With many in our community having little or no health insurance, something like this goes a long way in safeguarding the health of our people,” she said. “As health professionals, we’re glad that we can be of help.”

Elvis Sampal, a nurse and husband of Cristy Sampal, said that of the 200 or so who got their flu shots, mostly with Filipinos, but were of varying ages.

“Most were adults, but there were some kids too, and we gave them flu mist,” he said.

Although the shots were free, the “patients” were asked to provide some medical information, including allergies, asthma, or other chronic ailments, and personal information, such as name, address and age.

“It’s free, so I might as well take advantage of it,” said Michelinne Camins, who was shopping at Seafood City, a popular grocery store among Filipino-Americans.

“Plus, I know that I need it,” said Camins, 22, mother of a two-year-old, and a nursing student.

Liza Burks , who also got a flu vaccine, said she was thankful for the nurses and doctors who provided the free clinic.

This is good thing that they are doing,” Burks said. “With the cost of health-care, something free like this really helps the community.”

Follow Bert Eljera on Twitter @vegaspinoy60 and on Facebook at facebook.com/BertEljera

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