Healthy Choices

Sutter County provides residents drive-thru access to flu shots

Sutter County residents can get vaccinated for influenza almost as quickly as they can pick up a Whopper this Saturday at the annual drive-thru vaccine clinic in Yuba City.

The clinic, open from 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 27 at Riverbend Elementary School, aims to vaccinate as many residents as possible for influenza, which killed more than 202 people statewide last flu season.

Visitors to the clinic can expect to be in and out in about 20 minutes, after filling out a form and getting pre-screened for other health issues, such as allergies. Once screened, adults 18 years and older can get the vaccine injection. Residents between the ages of 2 and 49 may receive the Intranasal FluMist spray. Residents receiving the mist must be healthy, as it is a live form of the virus, compared with the injection, which is inactive.

Sutter County will vaccinate for three viruses this year: H1N1, H2N3 and the Influenza B Yamagata lineage. People who received a shot last year should receive a new one this flu season as the most prevalent viruses change every year, said Amerjit Bhattal, director of the Sutter County Public Health Department.

The vaccination is free, though the Sutter County Human Services Department accepts small donations. No appointment is necessary for vaccination, and consent forms are available on the county’s website, Residents should wear clothing that makes the upper arm easily accessible.

In addition to getting the influenza vaccine administered, the clinic serves as a practice in emergency protocol for Sutter County officials should they ever need to mass-deliver medication in a short period of time.

Last year, staff vaccinated 441 people in 21/2 hours, with the average time per car reported at 24 minutes. This year, they’ve added personnel at certain stations to cut that time down to 20 minutes.

Sutter County had a particularly low influenza incidence rate last season, possibly due to widespread vaccination, said Bhattal.

“It’s pretty well covered in terms of availability,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean people should be complacent about their vaccines. It’s really important for everyone to get the shot to protect the community.”