VA patients eligible for 'drive-through' flu shots

WHITE CITY — Veterans enrolled as U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs patients can get their annual flu shot Friday without getting out of their vehicle.

The "drive-through" shots will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. that day at the VA's Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics (SORCC) in White City.

There is no charge for a flu shot. Signs for the vaccinations will be posted at the main entrance to the facility off Highway 62.

In addition to enrolled veterans, VA employees and agency volunteers also are eligible for the flu vaccinations, said clinic administrator, Scott Walker.

"If veterans come who are not registered in the VA health care system, we will ask them to come into the building to fill out the form," Walker said, noting they can also receive the shot if they qualify. "We're trying to make it as easy as possible for everyone."

This marks the second year for the program. The facility decided to expand on last year's shorter version after it proved successful, Walker said.

Like last year, veterans won't have to get out of their vehicles but they will stop at several stations. The first will review their eligibility, followed by the second where they will receive a shot. The last station they'll stop at is to make sure no one has had a negative reaction, Walker said.

Working with the federal Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and other health agencies, medical scientists develop new vaccines each year to combat strains of flu virus most likely to pop up during the coming winter.

The body begins building immunity to the introduced flu virus within two weeks after being inoculated. The immunity lasts for about six months.

Since the vaccines are grown on chicken eggs, anyone allergic to eggs should avoid them, officials caution.

"As always, this vaccine is what they've anticipated to be the major flu for this season," Walker said. "It doesn't cover all influenzas."

Those receiving shots on Friday should be prepared to have bare arms when they come in, Walker said.

The family dog or other pets should be left at home since they can disrupt the proceedings. If it is necessary for a pet to accompany the veteran, the pet should be safely secured in the vehicle.

Eligible veterans who don't receive a flu shot during the drive-through vaccination can still receive their annual shots during their regular appointments at the SORCC.

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or at

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