At the Adair County Health Department’s drive-through flu clinic on Wednesday, protecting yourself against the flu will be so easy you won’t even have to leave your car. Adair County residents age 3 and up can get vaccinated against four strains of influenza for free.
The clinic will take place from noon to 6 p.m. in three locations — the NEMO Fairgrounds, the Novinger fire station and the south side of Brashear’s town square. At the largest location, the NEMO Fairgrounds, drivers can receive their vaccines at two stations. Visitors will enter from Patterson Street and drive toward the multipurpose building, where they will fill out a form (also available to print ahead of time at adair.lphamo.org) and be directed toward a nurse who will administer the vaccine. Law enforcement will be available to direct traffic.
There is no charge for the vaccine, but residents who receive Medicare or Medicaid are asked to bring their benefit cards.
Adair County Health Department Administrator Jim LeBaron said filling out the forms online helps keep traffic at the event to a minimum.
“That’ll make it just that much faster,” LeBaron said.
Medical Reserve Corps Coordinator Jim Stewart said the clinic’s busiest times are typically around noon, 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. He said he expects 1,200 or more people at the Fairgrounds and is hoping for at least 100 at each of the other two locations.
Stewart said the event’s purpose is twofold — it allows the department to quickly administer the flu vaccine while also giving them an opportunity to rehearse for what they would do in the event of an outbreak or other emergency where medicine needed to be dispensed quickly.
“It gives us a real opportunity to work closely with our community partners,” Stewart said.
Groups that volunteer to help at the clinic include the Medical Reserve Corps, the Northeast Missouri Health Council, nursing students from Truman State University and the Northeast Missouri Amateur Radio Club, which provides communications equipment.
LeBaron said the percentage of people in Adair who get a flu shot is probably in the high 30s.
“That’s definitely something we want to improve upon,” he said.
April Scott, a nurse who will be the coordinator at the Novinger site, said it is important to get a flu shot at this time of year so that it has time to take effect before the peak flu season, which typically occurs around the holidays.
Scott said although the drive-through clinic does not offer vaccines to children under 3 years old, that’s only because it is more difficult to vaccinate younger children in a parked car; vaccination is recommended for anyone over 6 months of age.
The high-dose flu vaccine sometimes recommended for those 65 years of age or above will also not be administered at the drive-through clinic, but Adair County residents can receive it at the Health Department’s permanent clinic at 1001 S. Jamison Street.
LeBaron said the Health Department is hoping to meet or exceed last year’s number of 1,400 shots administered at the drive-through clinic.
“We look forward to doing this every year,” LeBaron said.