By Michelle L. Gordon, WINN ACH Public Affairs October 26, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Every fall we're encouraged to get vaccinated from influenza -- a contagious and dangerous respiratory disease. Shots are offered everywhere from doctors' offices to local pharmacies, with the hope that if the vaccine is readily available and convenient, the majority of the population will get it.
For the past four years the public health staff at Fort Stewart's Winn Army Community Hospital has taken convenience to a whole new level by offering a Drive-Thru Flu Clinic. This year's clinic is scheduled 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Nov. 2-3 in the Winn ACH overflow parking lot at the intersection of 6th Street and Harmon Ave.
"We will have twelve licensed providers administering the shots in four drive-thru lanes," said Stephanie Deloach, Winn ACH Hospital Infection Control Officer. "The time it takes to go through the clinic varies by how many people in the car are being vaccinated, but it's less than an hour and you can absolutely do it during lunch time or on your way home from work."
The first Fort Stewart Drive-Thru Flu Clinic was in 2008 -- a year prior to the H1N1 Public Health Emergency in 2009. It was a joint emergency preparedness exercise between the installation and Liberty County, and the goal was to prepare for a pandemic in which a mass vaccine distribution would be needed.
"The first clinic was actually off post," said Maj. Shannon Ellis, Winn ACH Chief of Preventive Medicine. "We have since brought it on post to improve our ability to provide security because in a true pandemic, security would be a concern."
Due to the successful execution of the first Drive-Thru Flu Clinic, it is now an annual event held each fall on Fort Stewart.
"The community really likes it," said Ellis. "It's a convenient way to distribute vaccines. Parents especially take advantage of the opportunity. They'd much rather come through the drive-thru than make an appointment for each kid to be vaccinated."
The 4th Annual Drive-Thru Flu Clinic is open to all active-duty family members, military retirees and their Family Members, as well as all government Civilians.