When Texas Children’s opened its doors in 1954, an infectious disease was the most common reason for an infant or child to require a stay at the hospital. Intensive study of contagious diseases like measles, mumps and chicken pox in children was just emerging, and it had only been eight years since the influenza vaccine had been approved for widespread use.
When we celebrated Texas Children’s 50th anniversary in 2004, infectious diseases were still the most common reason for our patients and their families to require a hospital stay – but by then, it was because we had developed a global reputation for pioneering research and expertise in the field. Visionaries like Dr. Ralph Feigin, Dr. Martha Dukes Yow, Dr. Sheldon L. Kaplan and others laid a foundation of innovation that made the hospital a beacon of hope for communities once ravaged by influenza, rubella and other infections.
That spirit lives on at Texas Children’s today as we strive to advance pediatric and women’s health care. We seek out opportunities to take the lead in both big and small ways – from conducting cutting-edge research, to simply being at the head of the line for the flu shot each year and encouraging our colleagues to do the same.
As One Amazing Team, we share a responsibility to our patients, their families and each other to prevent the transmission of vaccine-preventable diseases like the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our own infectious disease experts agree that children under 5 years old, and especially those under 2, are particularly at risk to develop potentially serious and even life-threatening complications.
By stepping up to get your flu shot – and getting it early – you’re helping to reduce flu illnesses, doctor’s visits, missed workdays and those flu-related hospitalizations that were all-too-common at Texas Children’s only decades ago. It’s a proven fact: the flu vaccine is safe, effective and the single most important tool we have to protect these most vulnerable children and all of our patients and families, team members and our entire community against the virus.
Start planning now to attend an Employee Health flu event, receive your vaccination at no cost, affix that 2019/20 flu sticker to your badge and lead tirelessly as you make a positive impact that will touch everyone you encounter.
I’ll be there too, and I hope you’ll save me a spot next to you at the front of the line!