GREENFIELD — Some 84 people took advantage of a low-cost flu shot clinic offered by a local hospital — and they didn’t even have to get out of their cars.
Hancock Regional Hospital hosted its inaugural drive-thru flu shot clinic from Saturday in an attempt to prevent this year’s flu season from being as severe as last year’s, officials said.
At the pilot event, 10 hospital employees, including licensed nurses and support staff, guided vehicles through the process, administering flu shots in less than five minutes for $20 each, said Mary Ginder, Hancock Physician Network team support member.
“It was the right thing to do to promote a healthy community and to make it convenient for folks to get their flu shot,” she said.
The event came on the heels of an announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: last year’s flu season was the deadliest in at least four decades.
An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter, the CDC’s director, Dr. Robert Redfield, told The Associated Press last month. In Indiana, more than 300 people died during the 2017 flu season, according to state records.
The revelation has health experts across the country encouraging people to get flu shots.
Those who attended the drive-thru clinic went through three steps: at the first station, they paid and signed a consent form; at the second station, the folks getting their shot provided their information and received a vaccine information statement; and at the third station, they received their jabs and were on their way, Ginder said.
Not only did the event provide an option for those struggling to schedule an appointment with their primary care physicians, it offered the flu vaccine at greatly discounted rates, Ginder said.
The nurses offered a high-dose flu vaccine for those older than 65, which normally costs about $86 without insurance; and those age 3 and older got the regular flu vaccine, which costs about $62 without insurance, Ginder said.
The group prepared for as many as 200 people to attend, but they were pleased with the turnout on Saturday and got positive feedback from participants, Ginder said.
They’re already planning to offer a similar event next year, to be held earlier in the year, and possibly multiple events, she said.
“We are glad for the numbers we had this year,” she said. “We hope to make it bigger and better next year.”