Drive-through to prevent the flu

Published 10:47 pm Wednesday, November 12, 2008

An ounce of prevention is now available without even having to get out of your car.

Bon Secours Health Center at Harbour View, in North Suffolk, is offering drive-through flu vaccines Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. People can come through and get flu shots, without reservations, all in the time it takes to go to the bank.

“We definitely want to try to improve the community access to such a valuable program like this,” said Ron Bieszczad, director of operations at the Health Center at Harbour View.

Email newsletter signup

This is the first year Bon Secours has offered the service in Suffolk. A similar program at a Bon Secours hospital in Kentucky has been done for the past couple of years with dramatic increases in participation, Bieszczad said, and Bon Secours wanted to try it locally.

People who come to the Harbour View campus on Saturday will drive through three tents, Bieszczad said. In the first tent, everyone who is receiving the shot will fill out a registration form and pay the $20 fee. Cash, check and credit cards are accepted, and Bon Secours will bill Medicare insurance. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

In the second tent, patients will receive the shot from a registered nurse. People who plan to receive the shot should wear short sleeves. There is one caveat for pet owners – if your dog is in the car, you’ll be asked to step out to reduce the possibility of the animal biting the nurse.

In the third tent, everyone will receive a cookie, as well as a visual check for any allergic reaction that may result from the shot.

“Most people will be in and out in less than five minutes,” Bieszczad said.

The Centers for Disease Control recommend a yearly flu vaccine for everyone, but especially for people in the following categories:

Children aged 6 months up to their 19th birthday

Pregnant women

People 50 years of age and older

People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions

People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities

People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including health care workers, household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu and household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated).

People who should NOT get the flu shot include:

People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.

People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination.

People who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) within six weeks of getting an influenza vaccine.

Children less than 6 months of age (influenza vaccine is not approved for this age group), and

People who have a moderate-to-severe illness with a fever (they should wait until they recover to get vaccinated).

The Health Center at Harbour View is located at 5818 Harbour View Blvd. To save time, you can print and fill out the registration form at