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Hernando drivers roll down windows, get flu shots

SPRING HILL — They came in standard passenger vehicles, pickups, a Sebring top-down convertible and on a John Deere four-wheeler.

All were on the same mission: to get flu shots at Hernando County's first drive-through vaccination clinic.

Thirty-one visitors pushed up their sleeves during Thursday's three-hour clinic at the Anderson Snow Sports Complex. The clinic was sponsored by the county Health Department, in partnership with Walgreens and the county's Parks & Recreation Department.

Those being inoculated never had to leave their vehicles. They glided through stations designated for check-in, health queries, payment, injection and project evaluation in a matter of minutes.

"This has been smooth, very smooth," pharmacist Jon Griffith said as he stuck a green bandage over the nearly invisible needle prick on the shoulder of Rick Fuller, 57, of Brooksville, who remained in the driver's seat of his pickup.

Griffith was one of several Walgreens pharmacists who administered the vaccinations, a role he fills regularly at the store at Spring Hill Drive and Mariner Boulevard.

"I got the flu when I was a kid, and I didn't like it," Fuller said. "I get (a vaccination) every year, and it just seemed this would be convenient."

As Fuller prepared to pull away, Griffith told him to use his arm normally the rest of the day so it wouldn't stiffen.

Taking advantage of the sunny, 72-degree morning, Tresa Watson, 49, of Spring Hill arrived in her convertible.

"I've gotten a flu shot every year since 1990," Watson said. "I thought I'd give the drive-in a try. I thought it would be easy."

As the 38 professional staffers and four volunteers packed up their gear just after noon, Health Department spokeswoman Nina Mattei declared the clinic a success, despite the somewhat small turnout.

"We're extremely pleased — pleased with the process, all the help," she said. "It was a great tryout."

She was referring to the clinic's additional purpose: to practice the method of medication delivery in the event of a pandemic, when large numbers of people would need immunizations.

Clinic co-director and Health Department nursing director Ginni Crandall pointed out the department's trucks that supplied generator power so on-site computers could scan clients' insurance cards. The same power source fueled refrigerators in which the vaccine had to be stored.

Walgreens pharmacist Carl Strom, the clinic's other director, praised the collaboration to put on the clinic.

"We're taking notes throughout the day," he said, "in case we need to change anything."

Cookie Shirmer, left, grimaces as she receives her flu vaccination from Walgreens pharmacist Jon Griffith  at the Anderson Snow Sports Complex on Thursday.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

Cookie Shirmer, left, grimaces as she receives her flu vaccination from Walgreens pharmacist Jon Griffith at the Anderson Snow Sports Complex on Thursday.

Hernando drivers roll down windows, get flu shots 10/10/13 [Last modified: Thursday, October 10, 2013 9:51pm]
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