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Dedicated to providing the influenza vaccine to the elderly, low income, underserved and otherwise high-risk citizens of Boston; working with a rich source of medical student volunteers.
The efficacy of the influenza vaccine in preventing influenza related complications and mortality has been well documented and is a widely accepted practice in the medical community. (Jefferson T et al. Efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines in elderly people: a systematic review; Lancet 2005 Oct 1; 366(9492): 1165-74.) Yet ironically, the high-risk populations who need the influenza vaccine the most face the greatest barriers to accessing these services; including lack of health insurance coverage, economic disadvantage, transportation and mobility challenges, and language barriers. They typically lack accurate information regarding the flu vaccine, either not believing the vaccine is effective or having concerns about the safety and potential side effects. (Armstrong, K. et al, Barriers to Influenza Immunization in a Low-Income Urban Population, American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 20 (1) Pages 21-25, January 2001.)
BCAI directly addresses these barriers by bringing free, mobile flu clinics to underserved areas using an innovative model that capitalizes on a rich resource of enthusiastic first and second year medical students. Trained and supervised by seasoned nurses, they can't wait to get into the community and experience first-hand what it means to treat patients most in need. They are motivated to educate individuals, make personal connections, and better lives. This is the reason they want to be doctors.
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