LAKEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) — Drive-up medical services are growing in popularity because of the pandemic. Kaiser Permanente is now offering flu shots to patients who drive up and don’t have to get out of their cars.
“I had to have some blood work done, they said the flu shot was available, so I’m having it done. I don’t need the flu on top of everything else,” said Betty Flory, who received a shot Friday.
The hospital chain is offering the drive-up clinics at several of its locations around the Denver metro area.
“This year is really important to get the flu shot because the presentation of COVID and flu are very similar. No one wants to get the flu. It’s a horrible illness to begin with, as is COVID. In order to reduce the likelihood of getting either one of those things, we want to make sure that we vaccinate as many people as possible. All of the prevention measures we are doing for COVID will be effective for the flu too. So we want to keep up those things, but it will really be a demand on our public health system if we have a lot of people presenting with flu-like symptoms, which are the same as COVID symptoms. That will lead to a lot of testing and a lot of treatment and potentially hospitalizations,” said Amy Duckro, an infectious diseases physician for Kaiser Permanente.
Nobody really knows how bad the flu season will be, but patients like George Sherman aren’t taking any chances.
He said, “I get a flu shot every year because part of my ministry is I go to 10 different nursing homes and I go to about 6-8 home stays. So I don’t want to get anything and I don’t want to leave anything.”
Duckro added, “Actually a lot of it is in our hands because we do have the opportunity to get vaccinated. We also need to wear masks, physical distance, wash our hands, not going to places when ill. If we do that, we could have a shot at a really mild flu season. In fact, Southern Hemisphere — where they have the flu season before we do — in Australia, they have data their flu season was remarkably shorter than previous years. That is probably a testament to the measures people are doing to protect themselves from COVID.”
In addition to offering the flu vaccine, Kaiser is offering other services at the same time.
“The one thing we are doing a little different is we are also offering care gap closure or things that were preventive measures that people may have gotten away from or deferred care because of COVID. So what we are trying to do is when we have someone due for a cancer screening or a blood check for diabetes or different immunizations, we are offering them here as well,” Duckro said.
To check times or to make a reservation, Kaiser patients can visit the health care provider’s website.