Spokane-area residents got something healthier than french fries at a drive-through Saturday: flu shots.
The drive-through influenza vaccination clinic, organized by the Spokane Regional Health District, was the first vaccination clinic of its kind in Spokane County.
“We’re just trying to make flu shots as accessible as possible,” said health district spokeswoman Kim Papich. “We actually don’t have a preference where people get their flu shots – we just care that they do.”
Drivers and up to three passengers were directed to one of three drive-through lanes, where they rolled up their sleeves and received an injection protecting them against influenza for the season.
Spokane resident Jason Kampf said he usually gets vaccinated in a clinic, not his car.
“It seems pretty convenient,” he said. “I’d probably rather do it like this. It seems organized.”
The purpose of the flu clinic was twofold: Vaccinate the public against the flu and test the effectiveness of the drive-through format.
Drive-through vaccination clinics have been successful in many other communities, Papich said.
“This is the only drive-through clinic we’re doing this year,” she said. “If it is a success, we want to do more next year.”
Students from the Washington State University College of Pharmacy, WSU College of Nursing and Spokane Community College nursing program helped run the clinic.
The clinic gave students hands-on training in responding to large-scale public health emergencies, said Colleen Terriff, a clinical associate professor in the WSU College of Pharmacy.
“We train our students to be screeners, vaccinators, educators, supply runners, whatever they need to do to serve, but they are predominantly here to vaccinate,” she said.
Papich said she thought the clinic, which was held at the Spokane Valley YMCA at Mirabeau Point, started out successfully. By noon, more than 200 cars had been through the line – and there was still another hour to go.
“I think we’ve had a lot of people happy with their flu shots,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of good feedback.”
The shots were free for kids and $10 for adults without Medicare or Medicaid.
This year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age 6 months and older receive the flu vaccine, Papich said.
Unlike last year, most people only need one shot, which protects against two strains of seasonal flu and H1N1, also known as swine flu. In some cases, children 6 months to 8 years may require two shots.
For more information on influenza vaccinations, visit www.srhd.org or call SRHD’s Public Health Clinic at (509) 324-1600.