Friday, October 12, 2007

Drive-Thru Flu Shots

This is not a new idea, of course, but it's nice to see smaller communities thinking ahead, preparing for potential future disasters by changing the way they deliver the good old annual flu shot. Here's what they're doing in Boonville and Newburgh, Indiana:

Warrick County residents who want a flu shot this year can help out the county’s health department and participate in a disaster preparedness drill. On two Saturdays, flu shots will be given at drive-through clinics, one in Boonville and the other in Newburgh.

It will test our disaster plan and our ability to give a large number of vaccines to a large number of people in a limited time,” said Sharon James, a Warrick County Public Health Nurse. “If we’d have an outbreak, we might be called upon to give medicine or a vaccine for whatever is out there.”

The only way to know if we can do this is to practice,” said James. “And the only way to practice is to get people to come."

The idea of having drive-through clinics is a new one for the Warrick Health Department.

The idea, said James, came from a local hospital that tried the tactic last year. Patients will be directed to locations to fill out paperwork and get the flu shots without ever leaving their vehicles.

“People will pull into the parking lot, and there will be traffic controllers to direct them,” said James. “They will fill out their paperwork, be given an information statement and pay their money. Then they will drive forward under a tent, and there will be nurses on either side of the car, so we can do the driver and passenger at the same time.”
Another idea for emergency distribution of medicines that I find intriguing is to enlist the help of restaurants with drive-thru windows to serve as distribution points. Decentralizing the distribution can help speed the process and raise public confidence in the public health system. The trick is to work out the logistics and the record-keeping.


Jimmy Jazz said...

Hey John:

I know that around Philadelphia, at least two of the surrounding counties plan to exercise drive-thru flu shot distribution points soon. From what I've heard, these types of exercises usually go swimmingly well and surprise outside observers.

After they're done and hit the newspapers, I'll probably put something up on my blog. Thanks for reminding me!


John Bowen said...

Thanks, Jimmy. I'll be on the lookout for it.

BTW, I've liked a lot of your recent posts.