Tulsa County's drive-thru flu shot clinic called a success

Tuesday, November 9th 2004, 10:29 am
By: News On 6

A major operation is underway at the Tulsa County fairgrounds to distribute thousands of flu shots.

Seniors and other high risk adults started lining up early Tuesday morning, after workers came up with a different way to deliver the vaccine. News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin says it’s been done in other cities, but this year for the first time Tulsa's taking it for a spin.

In this season of shortages, The Tulsa City-County Health Department wanted the best way to distribute a recent shipment of 5,000 doses. It's a waiting room on wheels. Simply pull up in your car, and then roll up your sleeve. And drive off, defended from the flu.

The concept of drive thru vaccinations is actually part of Tulsa's bio-terror disaster plan, but health officials also realized it would be a great way to serve those in need of flu shots. From start to finish, the whole process takes about 8 minutes.

Bob and Jan Becher have waited in much longer lines this season, without any luck. Healthy, but both over 65, they didn't want to take any chances. “We hope it'll save us from having the flu. At our age we don't need the flu." Another bonus, besides the comfort of your own car, those with compromised immune systems isn’t exposed to any other illnesses that may be floating around in a typical clinic.

Janice Sheehan with the Tulsa City-County Health Department: “The flu doesn't actually make them so ill or kill them; it's actually complications from that. From getting the flu then their immune system is weakened and they end up getting a pneumonia they don't recover from."

With potential patients, the drive thru idea is a hit. "I think this is the best idea anyone has ever come up with it's so simple and so easy and really great."

There is another drive thru clinic Wednesday at the Tulsa County fairgrounds from 8:30 AM until 4 PM.

Again this is for adults considered high risk, that's over 65, pregnant, or with chronic illnesses. They are expanding that a bit to include some health workers, but only those caregivers in direct contact with high risk patients.