There will not be a free drive-thru flu vaccine clinic this year in Lawrence.
For the past two years, the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department organized a drive-thru clinic to test community public health emergency response plans, and at least a dozen agencies helped, including the Lawrence Police Department and Kansas University’s School of Pharmacy. During the first year, 402 shots were administered, followed by 505 the second year.
Charlotte Marthaler, assistant director, said the department used grant funding to purchase the flu vaccine, which was given away for free at both clinics. She said the second clinic was held to test improvements that were identified after the first one.
This year, Douglas County residents will need to get their vaccines at the health department’s clinic, 200 Maine, one of its five area clinics, or elsewhere, like their pharmacy, doctor’s office or workplace, and the sooner the better.
Ryan Burns, director of immunization at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said the timing and severity of the flu season are difficult to predict and vary from year to year, but it typically starts in October.
“By getting your flu vaccine before you see or hear about the first case of flu in your community, you give yourself and your family the best opportunity to stay flu-free throughout the season,” he said.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.
KDHE urges everyone 6 months and older to get vaccinated against the flu. It takes about two weeks after the vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza virus infection.
The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department’s flu vaccine clinics will be:
• Tuesday — 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Eudora Middle School, 2635 Church St.
• Oct. 9 — noon to 1 p.m., Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen at First Christian Church, 221 W. 10th St.
• Oct. 10 — 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., Lecompton United Methodist Church, 402 Elmore St.
• Oct. 11 — 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Baldwin School Primary Center, 500 Lawrence St.
• Oct. 16 — 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Stull United Methodist Church, 251 N. 1600.
Vaccinations will cost $23 for children ages 6 months to 35 months, and $28 for anyone ages 3 and older. For more information about influenza, visit the health department's website at ldchealth.org or call its clinic at 843-0721.