Free flu vaccines for up to 400 people will be available at the drive-through flu-shot clinic sponsored by St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center. The annual event is set for 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 15 at the Great Bend Public Library parking lot, 1409 Williams.
Only those 18 and older may participate. Short sleeves are recommended and anyone who wants to complete the brief consent form in advance is encouraged to visit the St. Rose website, stroseasc.org. The form can be completed at the event too.
"We just want to make this as convenient as possible," said Gloria Siefkes, R.N. and diabetes educator. "St. Rose wants to do what it can to encourage people to be vaccinated before the busy holiday season starts."
Siefkes noted there is always a rush at 8 a.m. at the drive-through clinic. "So if people want to wait a little while and come later in the morning, it may go faster for them," she said.
Ten St. Rose employees will volunteer their time for this clinic. And even though the vaccinations are free, goodwill donations will be accepted. The Foundation at St. Rose and the Dominican Sisters donated the 400 doses.
Influenza is caused by a virus and can be spread by coughing, sneezing or nasal secretions. Symptoms are fever, chills, cough, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, and runny or stuffy nose.
"If someone just has a little case of the sniffles, they can get a flu shot," Siefkes said. "But if they have a fever and other symptoms they should wait until they feel better."
The flu can last several days to more than a week, and complete recovery is normal. However, Siefkes noted, complications may lead to pneumonia or death.
"The virus can be especially serious for the elderly and people with diabetes, or heart, lung or kidney disease," the registered nurse explained. "And it is important to understand that the flu vaccine cannot give you the flu because the vaccine is made from dead viruses."
Those considering a flu shot should consult with a doctor if they are allergic to eggs, chickens, chicken feathers or chicken dander; have a history of Guillian-Barre Syndrome; are allergic to gentamiacin; have received another type of vaccine in the last 14 days; or are taking chemotherapy, radiation therapy or non-inhaled steroids.
St. Rose clinic patients may get their flu shots for a fee at Great Bend Internists, Women’s Health Center and St. Joseph Family Medicine. Some children qualify for free vaccines at St. Joseph.