Drive-through flu shots:



Not only free, but painless, if Scott Evans’s big smile is any indication, as he gets a flu shot from health department clinic nursing supervisor Kathie Burtram. (It cost $5, if you didn’t have a Medicare/Medicaid card.) The Blount County Health Department and the Blount County Emergency Management Agency collaborated last Wednesday to offer free, drive-through flu shots at the Agri-Business Center. It was a joint exercise for both agencies to test how mass inoculations could be delivered efficiently in both routine and emergency situations. It worked, from both perspectives. The health department immunized more than 100 people in the first two hours Wednesday, 346 for the whole seven-hour period. It was very busy for the first hour or so, workers said, but settled in to a comfortable, steady stream before lunch time. Time getting through the line was about eight minutes on average. People didn’t even have to get out of their vehicles. Could this become the method of choice for giving shots to large numbers of people in a short time? That was one purpose of the exercise – to answer that question. The answer: yes, it can, and probably will be, if necessary.

Ron Gholson