WALLA WALLA -- Nearly 860 shots were given during the free drive-through adult flu/Tdap immunization clinic Oct. 13 at Providence St. Mary Medical Center, according to a news release.
The clinic was sponsored by the hospital, the Providence Medical Group and the Walla Walla County Health Department. Nurses gave 499 flu immunizations and 358 Tdap (diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough) vaccinations before running out of vaccine at around 1 p.m.
People were able to be vaccinated without leaving their cars, and no appointments were necessary. Cars lined up more than an hour before the clinic stated. Many people also walked to the clinic. All of the vaccine was used in just 4.5 hours -- that's 3.2 shots a minute.
The clinic was held to help replace the annual community Flu Shot Round-up, which was sponsored by the Health Department for many years until funding was lost.
Eighty-eight people volunteered to staff and run the clinic, including Providence staff, nursing students from Walla Walla Community College, local and regional Health Department staff, the Kiwanis Club and Waitsburg High School.
Flu season usually begins in October and can last through May. In recent seasons, most infections have occurred in January and February, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC recommends annual immunizations for adults to protect them from the flu.
In addition to the flu, adults should consider receiving the Tdap immunization if they have not already received one.
Washington State current is in the middle of a whooping cough (pertussis) epidemic. While the disease is an unpleasant inconvenience for most adults, it can be very serious, even fatal, for babies and children. It also is dangerous for pregnant women.
It is important for adults to be vaccinated to prevent spreading the disease. Whooping cough spreads easily by coughing and sneezing. Vaccination is the best protection.