Wednesday, March 7, 2018
  Alumni, Announcements

By Amanda Taylor

EDINBURG, TEXAS – Hidalgo County Health and Human Services has partnered with the UTRGV Office of Emergency Preparedness to offer free flu vaccines to all first responders, UTRGV faculty & staff and their families, and the public.

There will be a drive-thru clinic from 7 a.m. to noon Friday, March 9, at the UTRGV CESS Building, 1407 E. Freddy Gonzalez Drive in Edinburg.

Free vaccines will be available to the first 500 participants.

“It’s important to get vaccinated for the flu within our community because the flu has been rampant this year,” said Glenn Gray, UTRGV Director of Health Services. “Folks who haven’t gotten their flu shots yet are unprotected, and the flu makes people sick all year long, not just throughout the winter.”

This is a drive-thru event, so recipients will have the convenience of remaining in their vehicles as nurses administer vaccines.

“This drive-thru clinic will serve as an exercise to demonstrate our collaboration between the university and the county to assist UTRGV students, faculty, staff and community residents,” said Eddie Olivarez, chief administrative officer for Hidalgo County Health and Human Services. “This event will simulate an actual emergency response in the event of a national emergency involving immunization practices.”

Olivarez compared Friday’s event to a prior event six years ago during an outbreak of the H1N1 virus. He said it’s important for first responders and their families to get vaccinated, so they can stay well in the event of a large-scale emergency.

Texas Department of State Health Services provided the free flu vaccines that will be used during the drive-thru clinic to maintain continuity of operations programs.

Olivarez said that an average of 23,000 people die a year from influenza related medical complications. Those who contract the flu may not die from the virus directly, but it can affect individuals with advanced diabetes or cardiovascular disease since the flu can impact pre-existing conditions and weaken immunities.

“It’s a popular misconception that the flu shot causes the actual flu virus – it doesn’t,” he said. “The vaccine itself is not a live virus, so you’re not going to get the flu from the vaccine.”

The flu virus is easily transmitted from person to person, so to maintain wellness, Olivarez says it’s wise to follow the Four C’s:

  • Cover your mouth – This helps the virus from spreading.
  • Clean your hands – always wash hands with soap and water.
  • Contain yourself – do not go out if you have fever.
  • Consult your physician – always contact your doctor in the event of fever or illness.

To keep the clinic moving efficiently, please review and fill out the Drive-Thru Clinic Packet (attached)before Friday morning, and have it with you.

For more information on the clinic, call Nelda Mendez, LVN, at (956) 383-6221, ext. 7232.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.