Chelsea Berg, a nurse at Peninsula Community Health Services, administers a flu shot during a free drive-thru flu shot event at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Chelsea Berg, a nurse at Peninsula Community Health Services, administers a flu shot during a free drive-thru flu shot event at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Drive-thru flu shots draw nearly 300

“We want people to be as healthy as possible and not get two diseases at one time.”

Health care providers on the central Kenai Peninsula teamed up Saturday to administer nearly 300 free flu shots to members of the community during a drive-thru flu shot event at Kenai Central High School.

The shots were given out from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at an event facilitated by Kenai Public Health, with coordination from the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Office of Emergency Management, Central Peninsula Hospital, Peninsula Community Health Services, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Capstone Clinic, Soldotna Professional Pharmacy, the Surgery Center of Kenai, Alaska Army National Guard, Southern Region EMS and the LeeShore Center.

The event took up the entire front parking lot of KCHS, in order to properly space the vaccination booths apart and allow for social distancing between all the volunteers. Participants were directed around the back and asked to fill out a brief information form before pulling up to one of the vaccination stations for their shot.

Leslie Felts, Kenai Public Health Nurse, said Saturday that one of the major goals of this drive-thru event was to get people vaccinated for influenza so that those cases wouldn’t complicate the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re doing this to make sure that the flu vaccine is available to everybody, given that COVID is still around,” Felts said. “We want people to be as healthy as possible and not get two diseases at one time, and to reduce the strain on the health care system.”

Bud Sexton, public information officer with OEM, said it was also a good opportunity for Public Health and Emergency Management officials to practice for an eventual COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Felts said it’s still unclear who exactly will be responsible for distributing a vaccine once it becomes available, but it’s likely that Public Health will play a major role.

By the time the event was over, Sexton reported that 274 flu vaccines had been administered. The youngest recipient was 12 months old, while the oldest was 81. Felts added that 159 cars drove through on Saturday, indicating that a number of family units got their vaccinations together.

Reach reporter Brian Mazurek at bmazurek@peninsulaclarion.com.

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