While the country waits for a coronavirus vaccine to arrive, administering flu shots will reduce the number of people who become sick with influenza. And fewer flu patients will lessen the burden on hospitals caring for people stricken by the coronavirus.
“We're doing what we can to protect people during COVID-19,” Georghiou said.
Like many first-year medical and physician assistant students at the Stanford School of Medicine, Georghiou is a member of Flu Crew, a student-run organization. Every fall, Flu Crew vaccinates Stanford students, staff and faculty, as well as people outside the university community who lack access to health care, such as farmworkers and homeless people.
The shots are free.
Inoculating oranges, one another
Flu Crew members spend a day being trained to administer the vaccine: They learn about the influenza virus, observe a shot being given and practice sticking needles into oranges. Once they’ve mastered inoculating fruit, they vaccinate one another. Then, they’re ready: The students are permitted to give the shots as long as a physician is present to supervise.
This fall, besides running on-campus clinics, they vaccinated workers at a mushroom farm, as well as churchgoers, library visitors and Salvation Army customers.
“At your first vaccination event, the hardest part is overcoming your nerves,” Georghiou said.
“But once you get over that, you don’t think about it anymore,” added her classmate, Monica Lanning, who sat across a table from Georghiou. “It’s cool. We already feel like experts in one skill.”