Nasty bug warded off at drive-thru; last year for program in Louisville

Louisville, KY - By Matt McCutcheon – bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY(WAVE) – When you think of a drive-thru, you normally think of a restaurant or a bank, but Tuesday, it's all been about a more healthy trip.

Orange cones seemed to be strategically placed to show an obstacle course, but a trip through the maze helps fight an obstacle -an obstacle that's more like a nasty bug:  the flu.

From 7 am to 7 pm Tuesday, U of L Hospital helped fight the flu with its 15th annual flu shot drive-thru clinic on the grounds of the university's Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

The shots cost $25 and help protect against both the seasonal flu and the H1N1 virus which made headlines last year.

"Every year you have thousands of people who die from influenza," said Linda Goss with UofL Hospital. "You may think that you have a regular cold - it might turn into pneumonia, it may turn into something else, but influenza is one of the easiest things to get protection against."

The drive-thru concept is also especially helpful in the threats of global pandemics.

"We were looking for a way to mass immunize and little did we know that in the years to come that it would serve a greater purpose that we would be testing our ability to mass immunize in case there was an event where we needed to do something like that," Goss said.

Even before this year's clinic took place, people lined up early, and everyone had their own reason for coming.

"The year before I had the flu really bad so I said I'm going to take it every year and I haven't had it since," Brenda Ogle said.

"I've got a heart condition and my doctor recommends I get one every year," said Tom Schlich.

"I want to stay healthy I mean I figure if I can prevent getting the flu maybe I can prevent other people from getting the flu," said Greg Dearing.

UofL's David McArthur confirmed that 2010 is the last year for the drive-thru clinics. McArthur says UofL was one of the first facilities in the country to successfully use the drive-thru method, working out the logistics and showing other states and organizations how to execute it.

McArthur says there's less of a need now with flu shots available from a variety of sources, including drug stores and supermarket chains. If a need should arise in the future, the drive-thru flu shot clinics could return.

In 2009, roughly 2,300 people were inoculated at Louisville's drive-thru clinics.

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