Dougherty set to host drive-thru vaccine clinic

ALBANY, Ga. -- Drive on through.

From 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday, residents will be able to roll up their sleeves and roll down their car windows at a drive-thru vaccination clinic at Robert Cross Middle School.

"It's important to give people the opportunity to get out (and get vaccinated)," said Suzette Profit, immunization coordinator for the Dougherty County Health Department. "It helps people knowing they can get it from the comfort of their vehicle."

The cost is $25 per dose. The health department accepts cash, checks, Medicaid, Medicare, PeachState, WellCare and AmeriGroup as well as the state health benefit plans of United Healthcare and Cigna.

While other counties in the Southwest Public Health District have done this before, Thursday will be the first time Dougherty has hosted a drive-thru clinic.

"We've had people waiting outside the building and they have said: 'Why not do a drive-thru clinic?," Profit said.

In order to help speed up the process, people can fill out vaccination forms beforehand and bring them to the clinic. The paperwork is available at the Dougherty County Health Department on South Slappey Boulevard.

If the form is filled out ahead of time, the whole process takes 10 minutes for most people, officials say.

"It will speed things up," Profit said. "The main thing is to get as many people vaccinated as possible."

Copies of the form will also be on-site the day of the clinic. Workers will be available to assist anyone with questions about the paperwork.

Profit said she is hopeful the public would be respective to the idea. "I don't know what to expect, but I hope that has a great response."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending vaccinations for those six months and older. The injectable vaccine will be the only one available at Thursday's event.

"It (the drive-thru clinic) does offer the public a convenient way to get a flu shot without standing in line at the health department or leaving their cars -- it also gives Dougherty County a chance to test our ability to swiftly and efficiently dispense medicines during a mass-exposure event like a bioterrorism attack, a disaster or an influenza pandemic when public gatherings will be discouraged or prohibited," said Dougherty County Health Department Health Director Cheryl Henley in a statement.

Flu season typically arrives in Southwest Georgia in the fall and peaks in February. This year's vaccine protects against the Pandemic 2009 H1N1 virus, an A-H3N2 strain and a B-Brisbane strain.

Robert Cross Middle School is located at 324 Lockett Station Road.