Tis the Season for Gratitude and Gridiron

Thanksgiving is full of traditions around the dinner table and for many families, around the TV too; as the holiday weekend is traditionally full of intense college football rivalry games. Iron Bowl, The Game, Backyard Brawl, Civil War, Duel in the Desert, Apple Cup, Crab Bowl. It’s no different here in Nevada, where the Battle for Nevada between the Wolf Pack and the Rebels happens each year (alternating between Reno and Las Vegas).


But before kick-off happens, there are two important questions that need to be asked: did you get your flu vaccine? And Wolf Pack Blue or Rebel Red?


Students, alumni, faculty/staff, and fans – it’s time to roll up your sleeve, take one for your team, and show your school pride. By getting your flu shot, you can help your team win another prize: the Fremont Syringe for the most vaccinated fans in the Nevada Flu Vaccine Challenge. The Battle for Nevada game may take hours, but getting vaccinated takes just a few minutes! Not sure where to go? Vaccinefinder.org allows Nevadans to input their zip code, generating a list of locations nearby offering influenza and other vaccines. 

Years of research have shown flu vaccination is the best way of preventing influenza — for ourselves, our family members and anyone we interact with in our daily lives. By getting vaccinated you’re ensuring those that are too young, have a compromised immune system, undergoing cancer treatment, an expectant mother – are protected too. They’re thankful you got your flu vaccine. And I’m thankful too. Nevada traditionally has had low flu vaccination rates — we ranked last in the U.S. for the 2016-17 flu season, with less than 40% of the general population vaccinated. A flu vaccine is the ultimate act of paying it forward – one that keeps on giving throughout the season.

Successes like these translate to healthier and protected communities. At Immunize Nevada, we’re grateful for physicians whose offices vaccinate; public health and community clinics servicing the underserved; pharmacies extending their scope of practice; school nurses helping students start school on time; health plans covering preventive care; funders providing financial resources; and donors wanting to better their communities.

As you gather with family and friends to eat turkey and watch your favorite rivalry game, I hope you are thankful too. Thankful to live in a community protected from disease, a community that cares about its most vulnerable members, and a community full of healthcare superheroes making a difference each and every day.

Don’t forget – you can be a flu superhero too! Log on to influencenevada.org, enter your flu shot information and declare your team loyalty – Nevada is counting on you.

Heidi Parker, MA

As executive director of Immunize Nevada, Heidi Parker, MA leads and engages a diverse coalition of staff, volunteers, member organizations and funders so they are passionate about vaccines and access to preventive health care across Nevada’s rural, urban and frontier communities. Bringing over two decades of experience in nonprofit program management, fundraising and marketing, she has dedicated her career to being able to affect her community in a positive way, whether working with Head Start families, victims of violence, college students or Nevadans needing immunizations.