It’s hard to believe, but flu season is right around the corner. Last year, we trialed our first season of drive-thru flu clinics …aka “Drive-Flu Clinics” and opened up appointments to family members so parents could receive their vaccines at the same time. The feedback we received (and continue to receive) from all of you is that “Drive-Flu” Clinics for the whole family are the way to go! We’ve been planning out details behind the scenes the last couple of months and are excited to share that we are bringing back family drive-thru clinics again this Fall.
We have made a few adjustments in order to offer more appointments than last year and care for families as efficiently as possible. Below, we walk through information about scheduling and what to expect at your “Drive-Flu” appointment.
1. When and where will “Drive-Flu” Clinics be offered?
“Drive-Flu” clinics will be offered every Saturday from September 18th – October 23rd. We will be alternating Saturdays between our Portland and Tigard locations this year. Families may come to either location.
**To begin, we will open the first 4 weekends for scheduling. Further weekends will be opened up once we have confirmation of vaccine shipments. Please check back here for the most up-to-date schedule.
Sept. 18th (Tigard)- Open for scheduling
Sept. 25th (Portland)- Open for scheduling
Oct. 2nd (Tigard)- Open for scheduling
Oct. 9th (Portland)- Open for scheduling
Oct. 16th (Tigard)- Coming soon
Oct. 23rd (Portland)- Coming soon
2. Who can schedule a flu vaccine appointment at PANW?
Flu vaccines are available to all patients and their household family members 6 months – 64 years (we are not able to offer the high-dose flu vaccine for people 65 years and older). Family members with Kaiser insurance or Medicare will need to pay out of pocket as we are not able to bill this insurance.
Our providers at PANW strongly encourage everyone 6 months or older to get a flu vaccine every year as the primary method for protecting your family. It not only helps prevent the flu, but also helps reduce the severity of symptoms and possible complications if you do get sick. The American Academy of Pediatrics states “The best thing you can do to protect your children from the flu is to get them vaccinated before influenza starts circulating in your community.” For the best protection, it is recommended that individuals get their flu vaccine by the end of October.
3. Who needs 2 doses of the flu vaccine instead of just 1 dose?
Children 6 months- 8 years old who have never received a flu vaccine or who have previously received only 1 dose of the vaccine during their lifetime before the most recent July 1st will need 2 doses spaced at least 4 weeks apart. If your child receives their 1st dose at our “Drive-Flu” clinic, their 2nd dose will be given either at their next well visit or as an immunization-only appointment in the office, depending on timing.
4. Will PANW have both the flu shot and nasal mist available?
Yes, we will have both the flu shot as well as nasal mist available. Please note: the supply of nasal mist is very limited and is for patients 2 years and older.
5. Can patients get their COVID-19 vaccine at the “Drive-Flu” clinics?
Unfortunately, we are not currently offering COVID-19 vaccines at our “Drive-Flu” Clinics. They require a special and lengthy process to prepare, which we are not able to accommodate while also preparing flu vaccines in a timely manner. We do have in-office appointments for COVID-19 vaccines available Monday-Friday in all locations for patients and household members 12 years or older.
6. How do patients schedule a flu vaccine appointment?
Patients can conveniently schedule online. Our “Drive-Flu” Clinics are by appointment only so our staff can prepare appropriately; we are not able to accommodate last minute add-ons. All family members who would like a vaccine need to have a scheduled appointment. Our flu clinics fill up very quickly so we recommend scheduling an appointment as soon as possible.
7. Is there anything patients need to do or complete before arriving for their appointment?
Yes! All individuals coming for a flu vaccine need to check-in online and complete their electronic registration forms prior to arriving. One day prior to the appointment, a text message and email with links for check-in and registration forms will be sent to the phone number and email address on file – keep an eye out for these! If you do not receive these, please contact our office. Please note: these need to be
completed for each person. To ensure an efficient experience for everyone, families who have not completed their registration prior to arrival will be directed to the side to complete their forms before getting back in line.
8. What do patients need to bring to their appointment?
For your protection and the safety of our staff, everyone 2 years and older must wear a mask. We recommend wearing short-sleeved shirts for easy access to the upper arm (shorts for access to the thigh for babies). We ask that pets please stay home to avoid potential injuries during injections.
For families who want to support our community giving efforts and medical team trip to Gambia in West Africa, we will be collecting school supplies at each drive-thru clinic.
9. What can PANW do to help those who get nervous with shots?
It is common for some to feel a little anxious when it comes to shots. Not to worry; we’ve got you covered! Our gentle and patient staff are specially trained in giving immunizations to little ones so you can feel confident that you are in good hands. We offer pain-reducing methods and distraction techniques so “pokes” are as comfortable and quick as possible.
The Buzzy Bee is a small vibrating device with an ice pack attached that we hold on a patient’s arm or thigh while we give the vaccine. The Shot Blocker is a flexible plastic piece with small bumps on one side. This is gently pressed onto the arm or thigh while the vaccine is given.
Both of these techniques distract and “trick” our nervous system into focusing on the light vibration or light touch instead of the needle.
Singing a favorite song, reading a book, listening to music, and deep breathing are also recommended if your child is feeling nervous. Watching a parent or sibling bravely getting their flu vaccine can help too!
10. Will PANW be offering flu vaccines in-office during the week, or just during “Drive-Flu” Clinics?
Flu vaccines will be available in the office for patients who have an upcoming visit already scheduled (well child, follow-up, etc.). There will also be a limited number of separate vaccine-only appointments available in the office. This year we have increased our capacity for “Drive-Flu” clinics and encourage as many families as possible to come through these Saturday clinics to ensure they receive their vaccines.