On a damp Thursday afternoon with windshield wipers slapping time hundreds of autos lined up for Central Peninsula Hospital’s (CPH) 4th Annual Drive-Through Free Flu shot clinic. Organized by infection preventionist for CPH Dana McDonald R.N. the event allowed motorists to stay in the warmth of their cars while allowing student nurses an opportunity to practice their vaccination skills, “I call it the Flu Drive-Through and it’s a lot of work to organize each year, but we have a great staff and volunteers that put make this a successful event that we love to do for the community. In the past we had volunteers washing windshields as the drivers filled out their simple forms, but this year Mother Nature took care of that for us so we passed out doggie treats for those with canine companions,” McDonald told the Dispatch, “But most of all we are helping keep our community healthy and that’s why we do this and in this way we can prevent flu and help make it a healthy fall and winter for everyone,” she said.

According to McDonald last year was a fairly average flu season which runs from October to March but the year before the season extended through June. For those who were deterred by the weather from getting a free flu shot last week McDonald recommended that they still seek a vaccination from local providers, “We definitely recommend that all people get vaccinated. The elderly population and very young population are usually the most at risk as well as people who have a weakened immune system or whose health may be otherwise compromised. The vaccine and flu strains vary from year to year so it’s important to get a flu shot every year because the shot you got last year may not protect you from the flu strain being predicted this year,” she said.

In addition to vaccination McDonald emphasizes that other measures are also important especially for families with school age children, “Good and thorough hand washing is so simple and so important in the prevention of infectious viruses and diseases.” To learn more about becoming a CPH volunteer call the coordinator at 907-714-4543.