From the SOUTHWEST PUBLIC HEALTH DISTRICT
On Wednesday, Nov. 17, from 9 a.m. - noon, residents will be able roll up their sleeves, roll down their car windows and roll through the Calhoun County Health Department's parking lot to take advantage of the health department's first drive-through flu shot clinic.
"It can't get much more convenient than that," says Calhoun County Health Department Director Cathy Simpson. The cost is $25 per dose and the health department accepts cash, checks, Medicaid, Medicare, PeachState, WellCare and AmeriGroup and state health benefit plans of United Healthcare and Cigna.
Vaccination forms that residents can fill out beforehand and bring with them will be available at First State Bank and Jerry's in Arlington; the Bank of Edison and West's Grocery in Edison; and Brumby's and Horizon Bank in Leary.
"Using the forms helps speed up the process," Simpson said. "Our sister health departments in the district have used this process for their drive-through flu clinics, and registration and vaccination took around 10 minutes for most people."
Forms will also be available at the health department on the day of the clinic for those who forget theirs or need extras. Workers will be available to assist anyone with questions about the forms.
"The CDC is recommending individuals 6 months and older to go ahead and get vaccinated as soon as possible," she said. "Research shows the protection will last throughout the flu season."
Only flu shots will be offered in the drive-thru clinic, Simpson said.
"You don't need a physician's prescription to get a flu shot from the health department."
The event serves a dual purpose.
"It does more than offer the public a convenient way to get a flu shot without standing in line at the health department or leaving their cars - it also gives Calhoun County a chance to test our ability to swiftly, efficiently dispense medicines during a mass-exposure event like a bioterrorism attack, a disaster or an influenza pandemic when public gatherings will be discouraged or prohibited," said Simpson.
Partners working with the health department to provide the clinic include the Calhoun County Sheriff's Department and Emergency Medical Service, she said.
Flu season typically arrives in Southwest Georgia in the fall and peaks in February.
This year's seasonal flu formula protects against the Pandemic 2009 H1N1 virus (the seasonal vaccine always contains an H1N1 strain); an A-H3N2 strain; and a B-Brisbane strain.
For more information, call the health department at 849-2515 or go on-line to www.southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org.