Getting your flu shot is easy this year — you don’t even have to get out of your car.
Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Baker City will start a drive-thru flu clinic on Monday, Sept. 28. It will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The location is behind the physician clinic, just off Midway Drive. It is the same area where the hospital has offered respiratory evaluations since March. If no one is outside, call the number on the banner (541-524-7961).
“Patients can come up and get their flu shot,” said Tonya Roth, the hospital’s executive director of operations. “In this pandemic, we’ve learned how to meet patients where they need care. We’re making it easy.”
The flu clinic is open to everyone; you don’t need to be a patient of the Saint Alphonsus physician clinic.
Those seeking a flu shot need to wear a mask. The process also includes gathering insurance information and signing a consent form.
All from inside your car.
“It really will be easy to get their flu shot,” Roth said.
Flu shots are available for ages 5 and older at this location, said Kelly Nork, practice manager.
This flu season is unique because COVID-19 is circulating at the same time. For this reason, Roth said, it is important to get a flu shot.
“The mortality rate increases with having the flu and COVID at the same time,” she said.
The hospital has ample supply of the flu vaccine, she said, including the high-dose version recommended for ages 65 and older.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people 65 and older are at high risk for complications from influenza. In recent years, the CDC estimates that between 70% and 85% of flu-related deaths have occurred in this age category.
The flu clinic will run through October and November. Typically, the flu season runs from late November through the spring, sometimes as late as April.
It takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine to take full effect.
“We’re encouraging people to get your flu shot and protect yourself,” Roth said.
In addition to the flu vaccine, people are encouraged to wash hands often, cover coughs and sneezes and stay home if feeling sick — all very familiar advice throughout the coronavirus pandemic.