Four hundred and two people got a free flu shot Saturday morning during Lawrence’s first drive-through vaccination clinic.
Forty cars were waiting in line when the clinic opened at 8:45 a.m. — 15 minutes earlier than scheduled — in Kansas University’s Park and Ride Lot at the northwest corner of Clinton Parkway and Iowa Street.
There were about 70 people who volunteered or worked during the clinic, which ended at 10:30 a.m. It was a public health emergency training exercise for Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department staff, the Douglas County Medical Reserve Corps, and community volunteers.
Health department director Dan Partridge thought the training exercise ran smoothly.
“I was just gauging how many people were smiling and I thought there were far more smiles than frowns. So, I think it went well,” he said.
Drivers made their way through a maze of traffic safety cones. Along the way, they stopped at a station where vaccine consent forms were checked.
Then they drove up and parked next to one of eight vaccination stations. The vaccinators took their consent forms, and the participants rolled up their sleeves, got a flu shot, and drove off. For those who needed extra assistance, like terrified children or the developmentally disabled, there were chairs to sit on at each station.
David Nelson, Lawrence, and his wife, Sherry, waited about 20 minutes to get their flu shots, but they didn’t mind.
“I am in my car,” he said, laughing. “I am a big fan of drive-ins. I love this.”
The 60-somethings described the clinic as well organized.
The longest wait was about 35 minutes. By 10:15 a.m., there was no line.
James Wisler Sr., Lawrence, and his 3-year-old son James Wisler Jr., enjoyed the nice weather during their 25-minute wait in a convertible.
“It’s organized, well-planned,” Wisler Sr. said. “I am really happy about it.”
However, his son, who was in the back seat, didn’t seem too thrilled, especially after getting poked. A worker gave him a sticker that said, “I just got a shot — hero,” but that didn’t cheer him up or stop the tears.
Partridge said he was a little disappointed in the turnout. They were planning for about 1,000 people.
“We had great weather, maybe too perfect,” he said.
Partridge estimated the clinic cost $4,000, so he wasn’t sure if they would offer it again next year.