Partners across the region are creatively coming up with ways to provide safe opportunities for immunizations during a time of physical distancing. A great example of a collaborative health solution is the drive-thru flu shot clinics happening on the West End. Forks Community Hospital and Chinook Pharmacy are going out into the community and providing opportunities for community members to receive their flu shot from the comfort of their car.
Most years, people tend to rely on their local grocery store, pharmacy, or primary care provider to receive their annual flu shot. The pandemic has taken a large toll on immunization rates especially among the people 65+ years of age, as community members grapple with the fear of going into public places during COVID-19. Determined to provide accessible immunization sites, Forks Community Hospital recently partnered with Chinook Pharmacy to host two drive-thru flu shot clinics. They hosted a clinic in Clallam Bay and another in Forks. The clinics reached almost 100 individuals, many of which were elderly patients. “The community really liked it and it was really well received!” shared Melanie Koskela, Administrative Clinic Supervisor at Forks Community Hospital. Since Clallam Bay is a remote community, the drive-thru approach was especially effective and important. Koskela said, “they were super appreciative and excited that we had the clinic set up. We had a lot of elderly patients interested in the high-dose flu vaccine."
Bringing a drive-thru clinic to reality
As far as planning, it was a relatively smooth process. Forks Community Hospital reached out to Chinook Pharmacy and all the key players quickly fell into place. “We put it together in less than two weeks. It was a fast process,” shared Koskela. Forks Community Hospital looks forward to doing a similar approach in the future. When asked what advice they have for other providers considering a drive-thru approach, Koskela shared the importance of planning, especially if offering child immunizations. Some kids may need the immunization in their leg rather than their arm, so having a special site available to accommodate the unique needs of child immunizations is important.
Prioritizing community health in difficult times
Olympic Community of Health is inspired by the creative ways partners across the region are navigating COVID-19 and providing care in a way that uplifts and responds to community needs. Keep up the great work, Forks Community Hospital and Chinook Pharmacy!
Is your organization or Tribe working on a creative approach to immunizations this year? Let us know, we would love to share your work with Olympic Community of Health’s network.