2020-11-04

Hundreds participate in Bridgewater drive-through influenza vaccine clinic

by KEITH CORCORAN

  • <p>SUBMITTED PHOTO</p><p>Motorists roll up to the drive-through flu shot clinic in Bridgewater.</p>
  • <p>SUBMITTED PHOTO</p><p>Motorists roll up to the drive-through flu shot clinic in Bridgewater.</p>

Nearly 700 people rolled up their sleeves for this season's influenza vaccine during the first round of a multi-day drive-through clinic in Bridgewater.

Vehicles containing those folks interested in getting inoculated wound through the South Shore Medical Arts Building lot at the corner of Glen Allan Drive and Nafthal Drive on October 23 and 24.

Local family physician Dr. Greg Thibodeau, one of five doctors responsible for the drive-through flu clinic, was anticipating that interest would be at a high level for the next round of the free, no-appointment setting.

Patients just needed to have a Nova Scotia health card, and the time to participate.

Health care professionals were scheduled to be back at the east side location to administer vaccines October 30 and 31.

It's a safe and efficient way for people to reduce risks associated with seasonal flu, Thibodeau said. He figured it could be a sign of the future.

"I would anticipate in years to come this may be a new format," he told LighthouseNOW, "because COVID-19 is not going away, and the ease of which we can give a vaccine is now shown to be quite helpful. This was a good experience for us."

Doctors Tim Riding, Kerry Jo Parker, Nathan Maguire, and Heather Johnson are among the other organizing physicians. Medical students with the Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship Program are also involved.

"It was an excellent opportunity for our student doctors to be involved in a community-based activity," Thibodeau said.

Those in line for the shot were triaged with appropriate screening and precautions by health care workers equipped in personal protective equipment. Patients were also observed for any adverse reactions following inoculation. Many patients had the vaccine in previous years, Thibodeau said.

"We're just optimizing access for the community in a time of COVID-19 when we're trying to minimize congestion in pharmacies, in waiting rooms, in any other environment where a vaccine can be given."

After 675 people took advantage of the first two days, Thibodeau was encouraging the next round of participants to be patient and loop around the block so vehicles aren't congesting adjacent streets and the lot itself. "We were cold," he said of the first round, "but we worked hard and it was well received."

Patients commented on the ease of the procedure and wished it was part of the norm, he said.

Organizers may consider a larger venue to accommodate more vehicles in the future.

Thibodeau also thanked the Medical Arts building property owner, David Himmelman, for allowing the space for the clinic to take place.

"We are so happy the people took us up on the enterprise and came."

Physicians in Lunenburg are said to be considering a similar style clinic in November. Thibodeau advised his crew is willing to share unused equipment, supplies and vaccine.

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