Hopefully, the change of seasons will be coming soon (it’s been a hot one this summer). The transition from summer to autumn and back to school means flu season is right around the corner. This will be year #3 of our drive-thru flu clinics…aka “Drive-Flu Clinics.” We will again offer appointments to family members so parents can receive their flu vaccines at the same time.
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 8:30am-4:30pm every Saturday from September 24th – October 15th. We will be holding these events at our Tigard location only this year.
- September 24th (Tigard)
- October 1st (Tigard)
- October 8th (Tigard)
- October 15th (Tigard)
2. How do patients REQUEST a flu vaccine appointment?
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 must have a scheduled appointment. Our flu clinics fill up very quickly, so we recommend requesting an appointment as soon as possible.
Unlike previous years online scheduling is not available; however, you can REQUEST an appointment online via the Patient Portal. We will then message you back your appointment date and time.
Instructions for requesting a drive-thru flu vaccine appointment:
- Once logged into the portal, click “CREATE MESSAGE” under the Messages heading.
- Select “Drive-Thru Flu Appointment Request” from the drop-down. Fill out the form, then click “SUBMIT.”
- You will be notified via a message response when your appointment(s) is scheduled.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Will PANW have both the flu shot and nasal mist available?
Yes, we will have both the flu shot and nasal mist available. Please note: the supply of nasal mist is very limited and is for patients 2 years and older.
6. 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 our patients 6 months or older.
7. Is there anything patients need to do or complete before arriving for their appointment?
Not this year. Just make sure everyone who wants a flu vaccine has an appointment scheduled.
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.
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 get their flu vaccine can help too!
10. Will PANW offer flu vaccines in-office during the week or during “Drive-Flu” Clinics?
Flu vaccines will be available in the office for patients with a scheduled upcoming visit (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.
For more information about the flu and the vaccine, click to visit the resources below:
The team at Pediatric Associates of the Northwest is looking forward to helping you and your family stay healthy this flu season!