Drive-through jabs just what doctor ordered

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Mornington Health Centre nurse Glenda Cagney gives Shelley Hynes her flu vaccination in the centre’s drive-through vaccination area. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY

“Can I get my drink and fries up-sized with that?” may seem to be an unusual request from a patient visiting their doctor.

But it is becoming a common question at the Mornington Health Centre after a drive-through flu vaccination service was set up in the centre’s garage this week.

Centre general manager Sue Howell said it was great patients were in a jovial mood at such a stressful time.

She said people could now make appointments to drive into the centre’s garage, lower their window, answer a few questions, roll up their sleeve and have a nurse reach out and give the flu vaccination — all without the patient leaving their vehicle.

“People are really grateful. They’re nervous, anxious and scared, and this puts them a little bit at ease because they can stay in their own little bubble and still get the vaccine.

“Literally, the only contact inside that little bubble is essentially for the few seconds that the vaccine is given.

“We’re doing it this way because everybody who is getting the flu vaccine is well, and we don’t want any well patients coming into the practice.

“It’s purely to keep them safe from being exposed to any illnesses.”

Flu vaccinations are being given to people over 65, pregnant women, and people who have specific pre-existing medical conditions.

The Ministry of Health website said the rest of the population would be able to receive the flu vaccine from April 13.

Mrs Howell believed most general practitioners around the city were giving flu vaccinations at special clinics.

Some others were giving the vaccinations to people in their cars, while parked outside health centres.

“Every practice will be working slightly differently. Everybody’s modified it to get it to work for their own practice,” she said.

Otago Daily Times