One of Rowan's #MaskUpProfs signs in front of the Rowan Prof statue. It is important to take precautions, such as getting a flu vaccine, to reduce overcrowding in hospitals. - Multimedia Editor/ Alexander Rossen

‘Tis the season! Flu season, that is.

On Wednesday, Sept. 30, the Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine alumni held their monthly webinar titled “Importance of Vaccines in the Time of COVID-19.” This webinar emphasized the need to get a flu shot this year in hopes to avoid a “twindemic.” 

“Given that we do not yet have a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, the challenges of the current pandemic provide the forum to discuss what vaccines are available to prevent or modify 17 infectious diseases in the U.S., as well as the latest progress with COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials,” Dr. Ginamarie Foglia said on the purpose of the webinar. 

This webinar included alumni Foglia, class of ‘93, Dr. Rebecca Moore, class of ‘03 and Dr. Kevin Overbeck, class of ‘03. Also participating was the Assistant Dean for Student Programs and Alumni Engagement Dean A. Micciche, MPA. 

The speakers made a point to emphasize how important it is for people to get their flu shots this year to try to utilize space in hospitals and save resources for patients with coronavirus. Dr. Foglia also noted that Oct. 1 starts the “northern hemisphere influenza season.” 

The speakers also provided information on other vaccines that are just as important during this time. 

Overbeck expressed that adults should stay up-to-date on their shingles shots. “You want to trust the experts,” Overbeck said. “If you hear one thing from this presentation, go get your shingles shot — you don’t want [COVID-19] and shingles at the same time.” 

Foglia is hopeful that there may be a vaccination for COVID-19 by the end of the year.

“We’ve got four or five players now that are in Phase 3. Many of them will have their safety data and advocacy data by the end of the year. I know the FDA has just provided documents to the industry that they would like to see at least two months of data after their last vaccination to look at advocacy and safety,” Foglia said.

During the webinar, the speakers also discussed the long and tedious process of putting out new vaccines and what that may look like for the current pandemic. 

“I’m understanding from the New England Journal of Medicine that they are actually producing [the vaccine] now, ready for distribution, so that when they prove that it is effective and safe, it’s already there,” Overbeck said. “So this is a financial risk that companies are taking in this unique time.” 

Rowan has a drive-thru flu clinic on Thursday, Oct. 15, and an in-person clinic on Wednesday, Oct. 21.

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