Flu shots and the people behind them

Ty Mcphee, Staff Reporter

Flu season is upon us, and medical staff at Kittitas Valley Healthcare (KVH) and volunteers from around the county are working to ensure that things run how they’re supposed to. 

Kathryn Brunner is the events coordinator in the community relations department of KVH.  She had worked on organizing last year’s drive-thru flu clinic in Cle Elum. 

Within an hour, they had administered all 50 flu vaccines that were ordered.

“It was exciting to be able to do it up there, and then we were able to plan for more for this year,” Brunner said.

On top of making sure there are enough vaccines to go around, they obtained a grant through their grant writer which allowed them to purchase more vaccines, as well as advertising for the event.

In past years, the Kittitas County Public Health Department (KCPHD) has run the flu clinics. 

This year, due to lack of resources, KVH will be running it with help from KCPHD. Brunner said they’re basing their Ellensburg clinic off what they have done in the past. 

Search and rescue volunteers will be doing traffic control, and CWU paramedicine students will be helping distribute the flu vaccines. 

Nurses will be there as well to oversee those students and ensure they’re doing the proper procedures. 

Brunner said volunteers are a huge help and relieve staff members of KVH from needing to be there.

“Hospital district two up in Cle Elum, they’ve donated some money too towards the flu clinic,” Brunner said.

Kasey Knutson, the special programs coordinator for KCPHD made sure to emphasise that these flu clinics are what are known as points of distribution, or POD, which is an emergency exercise. 

It gives people practice for when there needs to be a rapid emergency distribution of a vaccine much like the projected COVID-19 vaccine.

Knutson also mentioned that the reason for drive-thru vaccine distribution was not convenience, but a means of preventing people congregating in large groups and potentially spreading disease.

She also said when we eventually do have a COVID-19 vaccine, they’ll be using this method in order to administer the vaccine on a much larger scale.

Cle Elum’s drive-thru flu clinic was held on Oct. 24, and Ellensburg’s will be on Nov. 7.