Health department offers curbside service

Published 6:48 pm Saturday, September 29, 2007

WHO: City of Port Arthur Health Department

WHAT: Drive through flu clinic

WHEN: 7:30 a.m. to noon Oct. 1

WHERE: Port Arthur Health Department, 449 Austin Ave.

CONTACT: For information on Monday only, call 728-1439

COST: $10. No cost for Medicare recipients

By Mary Meaux

The News staff writer

Nurses at the City of Port Arthur Health Department want to make sure getting a flu shot is quick, easy and convenient. That is why this year they’re offering curbside service.

The flu shot clinic is designed so recipients do not have to leave their vehicle.

The event is set for 7:30 a.m. to noon Monday, Oct. 1, at the Health Department, 449 Austin Ave. The vaccination will be administered to adults only and the cost is $10. There is no cost for Medicare recipients, however, they need to bring identification and Medicare card. Paperwork will be minimal and assistance will be provided.

In order to maintain an orderly flow of traffic, participants will enter on Procter Street where an official will take their information. From there the vehicle moves forward to a nurse who will administer the shot. At the third and last stop participants will receive a doughnut and a bottle of water.

Assistant Health Director Judith Smith hopes this can be an annual event.

“This way people can come and not have to worry about getting out of their cars,” she said. “It’s a comfort measure.”

Smith said the flu can be very serious, especially with patients with weakened immune systems and can quickly turn into pneumonia,

“Some people can die from complications of the flu,” she said.

Symptoms of the flu are: fever, cough, sore throat, headache, chills, muscle aches and fatigue. The flu can cause high fever and seizures in children and on average, 226,000 people are hospitalized every year because of the flu, or influenza, and 36,000 die, mostly elderly.

The threat of the flu is real and even employees at the Health department receive the shot.

“They are one of the first groups to get the shots,” Smith said. “The rest of the first week of October we will immunize employees and their families.”

Smith knows the importance of receiving the immunization.

“In the 24 years I’ve been here I’ve missed one shot. It was in the early ‘90’s and I skipped the shot that year and got the flu. I was off of work for two weeks. It was horrible,” she said.

Smith dismisses one myth that has circulated for years regarding the shot.

“Some people say they don’t want the shot because it gives them the flu and that’s not true,” she said.

The shot contains an inactivated vaccine and can cause soreness at the site of injection but does not “give” a person the flu.

Donna Abrams, community service aide at the Health Department, is excited about the clinic’s participation in the drive through flu clinic.

“I’m looking forward to the flu clinic,” she said. “I’ve never participated in a vaccination drive through. It promises to be very eventful and rewarding and I anticipate it to be highly successful.”

Smith said the event is also a way for medical personnel to prepare for a mass vaccination in case of a pandemic flu.

“This way we can inoculate hundreds of people in a short time,” she added.

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