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Free Flu Shots Provided at Drive-Through Vaccination Event

Montgomery County Hosptial District - Montgomery County Public Health

Free Flu Shots Provided at Drive-Through Vaccination Event

Vaccines available for ages three and up at Lone Star College–Montgomery Campus

CONROE, Texas — Montgomery County's public health officials want getting a flu shot to be as easy as ordering breakfast.

In an event sponsored by Montgomery County Public Health and Lone Star College, getting that shot just as fast, and less expensive, than driving through a fast-food restaurant.

The Fourth Annual Drive-Through Flu Shot Clinic at Lone Star College–Montgomery on October 16 will offer free vaccinations for ages three and up.

"Getting the flu is awful, protecting yourself shouldn't be," said Emily Llinás, Public Health Manager at the Montgomery County Hospital District. "That's why we are making it as easy as possible for people to get immunized. We're giving the vaccines, for free, on a weekend, when the whole family can go together without missing work or school.  All they have to do is drive to our event and put their arms out the window."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seasonal influenza kills approximately 36,000 Americans every year. Individuals most affected are senior citizens, young children and people with chronic medical conditions like asthma and diabetes. One of the best ways people can protect themselves from the flu is to get a vaccine. This year's seasonal flu vaccine protects against three flu strains, including the H1N1 virus.

Llinás said, in addition to serving the community, the Drive-Through Flu Shot Clinic allows public health professionals to exercise their capacity to respond to emergencies requiring large-scale immunization campaigns. An emergency where mass vaccination was required was the Novel H1N1 Influenza A outbreak of 2009-2010.

"When H1N1 hit us last year, we were prepared to respond, primarily because we had practiced vaccination clinics many times before. We called our volunteers, and they came to work," Llinás said.  
Approximately 40 volunteers will work at the drive-through clinic on October 16. Workers include staff from Montgomery County Public Health, Lone Star College and volunteers from the newly formed Montgomery County Medical Reserve Corps.

Llinás said the drive-through vaccination model is a great way to protect the population from infectious diseases that spread through the air.

"If we're dealing with an outbreak of measles or SARS, we want to protect people, but we don't necessarily want them all standing together in a crowded room while waiting for shots," she said. "The drive-through model allows us to serve large numbers of people while limiting interaction between them."

Individuals interested in shots must report in automobiles and enter the campus from Highway 242, College Park Drive. Flu shots will be given from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. or until supplies run out. Organizers have 600 doses to give away.

For more information, see the Montgomery County Public Health Web site, www.mchd-tx.org or call 936-523-5029.