'Drive-through' flu shot clinic draws more than 1,300 residents

Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Gary Way of Eureka Springs, sitting in the comfort of his company truck, bared his arm to student nurse Tracy Peoples when receiving his free flu vaccine last Friday. Anna Mathews / Carroll County News

BERRYVILLE -- The county's first "drive-through" free flu shot dispensing event was well received by area residents with more than 1,300 participating.

The line up began around 5 a.m. for the 6 a.m. start at the Assembly of God church in Berryville.

Organizer Sherri Plumlee, director of the Carroll County Health Unit, said her staff had previously hosted mass dispensing events but this was their first "drive-through."

"It actually went well," she commented. "We had some logistics to work out initially. We had never done a drive-through, but knew it worked well for other communities.

"We had mostly positive comments from the public," she noted. "Most loved not getting out of their cars, especially the handicapped."

There was only one bottleneck, Plumlee noted, which occurred early in the day.

"They started lining up at 5:10 a.m. for the 6 a.m. start," she recalled. "By 6:10, we had about 30 vehicles. That was the longest wait."

Plumlee said they operated five drive-through dispensing stations from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m., and even gave out three more vaccines while they were packing up.

She said it wouldn't have been possible to host such an event without the support of the community.

"I have a small staff," she explained. "This was much bigger than me and my staff could handle. We had about 50 volunteers."

The Berryville Kiwanis Club and its high school Key Club members were a big help, she said.

"I spoke with David Brock, president of Kiwanis, and we talked about the Key Club, and the seniors who wanted to help. We cleared it with the school so it would be an excused activity. This type of thing builds volunteerism among our young."

Also volunteering were several banks, who sent employees over during the day, the Holiday Island Fire Department and its auxiliary, student nurses, and others.

In addition, Plumlee said Geraldi's restaurant contributed food, as did Good Times Pizza, Country Rooster, Terry's Hearth and Pantry, and Tyson Foods. Also contributing were McDonalds, Wal-Mart, and Community First Bank.

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