DENVER (CBS4)– Some Safeway locations in the Denver metro area began drive-thru flu shot clinics on Wednesday. The clinics will allow people to get a flu vaccine without leaving their vehicle.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially tough on Keely Shaw, and her son Charlie. He has severe chronic lung disease and is at high risk for respiratory illnesses. They haven’t been in a building that isn’t their home since March.
“We’ve had a lot of togetherness,” said Keely.
With flu season looming she had to figure out a way to get her whole family vaccinated without exposing them to COVID-19.
“We called everywhere trying to find someone that would come out. Our pediatrician, my doctor, everyone we asked to please come out to the parking lot and give us our flu shots and nobody would do it,” Keely said.
When she saw that Safeway is having a drive-up flu shot clinic she made the trek all the way from Arvada to south Denver to take advantage.
“I was so excited!”
Health experts worry that with the coronavirus pandemic, people will stay away from their doctor’s offices and miss getting a flu shot. The goal is to avoid burdening hospital systems and the risk of double exposure in what some are calling a “twindemic.”
“We don’t want to overwhelm our healthcare systems with COVID and potentially flu cases,” said Director of Pharmacy Operations for Safeway Nikki Price.
Not to mention that getting the flu is dangerous in and of itself. Most people who get the flu will recover but for some like Charlie, it could be deadly. Health experts say by getting vaccinated, you are protecting yourself and them.
Keely appreciates people who look out for her son by looking out for themselves, “You have no idea how many people like Charlie there are out in your world.”
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone age 6 months and over get a flu shot.
According to Safeway, customers can drive up to the designated location in the parking lot, talk to a pharmacist, fill out paper work and receive the flu shot right there. The grocery stories will have several designated parking spots allocated for the flu clinic.
The drive-thru flu shot clinics will be at the following Safeway locations from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Wednesday through Sept. 30:
Safeway – 6460 E. Yale, Denver CO 80222
Safeway – 3800 W. 44th Avenue, Denver CO 80211
Safeway – 2150 S. Downing, Denver CO 80210
Safeway – 9229 E. Lincoln Avenue, Lone Tree CO 80124
Kroger is also offering a drive-thru flu shot option. You can book an appointment by visiting kingsoopers.com/flu.
Additional Information from the CDC:
The CDC also notes that because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis – which could put an additional burden on testing capacity.
The flu is an illness caused by a virus that usually affects the nose, throat, and lungs. It is easily spread from person to person. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times, can lead to death. Anyone can get the flu, but there are some groups of people who have a higher risk of more severe symptoms and serious complications, including adults age 65 and over; children under age 5, but especially younger than 2; pregnant women; and those with other serious ailments, including asthma, diabetes, heart disease or a weakened immune system. American Indians and Alaska Natives also are at higher risk.
The CDC estimates that between October 1, 2019, and April 4, 2020, 39 to 56 million people got the flu, resulting in 18 to 26 million medical visits. Moreover, this resulted in 410,000 to 740,000 flu hospitalizations and 24,000 to 62,000 flu deaths.