After dealing with the pandemic for nearly six months, Gundersen St. Joseph’s was faced with another challenge; how to safely vaccinate a community against the flu.
Every August, Gundersen St. Joseph’s begins planning for the upcoming flu season, a project that often requires multiple departments to come together to ensure safe and timely administration of the flu vaccines to staff, outpatients, inpatients, local businesses, and nursing homes. The pandemic raised some additional concerns. Would there be an increased demand for the flu vaccine? Would patients be less likely to get the flu vaccine if their only option was to come to the clinic and risk exposure to COVID-19? Was there another way to provide the vaccine without the risk of having large numbers of people gathering in our facility?
The answer was to develop a drive-thru flu shot clinic. Using COVID-19 funding, Gundersen St. Joseph’s purchased new tents, signage and equipment to host three community drive-thru flu shot clinics. The clinics were set up in local parks, parking lots and side streets.
“Some folks rode through on four wheels, some on two wheels,” said Carrie Krueger, RN, manager of Gundersen St. Joseph’s Clinics. “We had a couple of ATVs and even offered to fix a tire on one vehicle.”
One patient’s family was particularly thankful for the drive-thru convenience as they no longer needed to take time away from work to help their loved one with a clinic appointment.