Oct. 11 is the first opportunity for local residents to obtain a 2017 influenza vaccination without having to leave the comfort of their car or truck.

City-Cowley County Health Department logoThe City-Cowley County Health Department will be host to a drive-through flu shot clinic from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Agri-Business Building, located at 712 W. Washington Ave. in Arkansas City.

“Our clinics serve multiple purposes,” said Health Department Administrator Tom Langer.

“We test our ability every year to respond to a biological disaster or infectious disease outbreak that may possibly occur in Cowley County. If an event would occur, we would have to rapidly vaccinate or administer life-saving medicine to a vast number of our citizens. The clinics are ideal opportunities for us to exercise our public health response. By holding the drive-through clinics, we test our methods of seeing multiple patients in as short a time as possible, while still providing high-quality control and service.”

Each year, many local residents, especially elderly residents or those who have mobility challenges, attend the drive-through clinic. In doing so, they need only go from their home to their car and they eliminate the need to negotiate parking lots, curbs, steps, doorways or other barriers to walking.

Families also have found the clinic helpful. They can get into the car and everyone can be vaccinated in one quick, simple visit.

The health department uses three different vaccines during this event. One is specifically designed for older citizens, another is designed for children and the final vaccine is designed for the population in general. Each vaccine is developed to help to prevent the strains of influenza that scientists have indicated will be the most likely to infect people in the United States this season.

When asked about vaccine complications, Langer commented, “The vaccine cannot give you the flu, as it does not contain a live virus. Many people report a mild side effect of a slightly sore arm near the injection site, which passes in a day or two.

“Negative reactions to the flu vaccine are extremely rare. People who are allergic to eggs should not get the vaccine. People being treated for chronic illness should speak with their physician about getting the vaccine, but for 99.9 percent of the population, it is very safe and very effective. The vaccine simply helps in preventing the flu from infecting you.”

Langer explained that the cost of the vaccine is generally paid for 100 percent by medical health insurance policies and that the health department will handle all the required insurance paperwork. Additionally, the health department will work with uninsured persons to get them vaccinated.

“We do not want members of our communities who may be experiencing financial hardships to go without,” Langer said. “It is proven that getting sick costs so much more than taking preventative measures. We will work with you to make sure that everyone who needs the flu vaccine is able to be immunized.”

This information was provided by City-Cowley County Health Department Administrator and Public Health Officer Thomas Langer.