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Get in, get poked, and get out. Drive-up flu shots underway in Santa Barbara County

Flu vaccine
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Free drive-thru flu vaccine clinics are taking place this week in Santa Barbara County.

GOLETA, Calif. - Hundreds of Santa Barbara County residents are getting flu vaccinations without ever getting out of their cars this week.

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, Sansum Clinic and the Medical Reserve Corps, are hosting drive-up free flu shot events.

In the past they have held them in large auditoriums, something that is not possible during the COVID pandemic.

Anyone 2 years of age and older can receive a free flu shot.

No insurance, identification, or appointment is needed. The process is simple - wear a face covering, remain in the car, complete a short form, and then get a vaccination.

The San Marcos High site was open 2 p.m. to 6 p.m today.

Earlier this week shots were given out at Lompoc High.

On October 13 and 15 they will be available at Alan Hancock College.

Health officials say anyone coming for a flu shot will have to wear a mask and fill out a simple form.

They want the public to be vaccinated for the seasonal influenza as another layer of protection during the COVID-19 crisis. They are also hoping the flu shots will help during the upcoming holiday season starting with Halloween later this month.

Jo Anne Scioytino was in one of the first groups through. She said, "it was well organized. I didn't expected it to be this big of a turnout though."
Many drivers said the definitely worth it.

Scioytino said, "I didn't want to be sitting in a room with a lot of people waiting for an appointment."

For Matt Johnston, getting in line before the clinic opened, made for perfect timing.  It was "30 minutes in and out."

Normally this clinic is at the Goleta Valley Community Center. That could not happen under COVID rules, and this drive thru idea was the right fit.

At the same time, the high school has remote learning which made its large parking lot available.
Jan Koegler, with Santa Barbara County Public Health, said it was a diverse turnout.  "Adults and children they're all here.  We're here with our Medical Reserve Corps, our Public Health Department,  our student nurses from Santa Barbara City College,  Sansum provided our vaccine today."

The line was cut off about 6 p.m. after 700 shots were given out.

In one car came  support in the form of Mr. Tidbit a pet and support  dog.

Caiti Schlitt said,  "He definitely is the MVP of our quarantine."
Nearby Amanda Hayes said she got so

For more information go to: Santa Barbara County Public Health.

This weekend Dignity Health is also offering flu shots.

Dr. Jason Morris recommends protecting yourself against the flu virus with a no cost flu vaccine this Saturday, October 10, from 9:00-3:00 at the Dignity Health Urgent Care Center in the Santa Ynez Valley.

“The symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu are very similar and while there is still no vaccination for COVID-19, we could see a “twindemic” this year. For this reason, it is important to get a flu vaccination and protect yourself, your family and the community during these uncertain times,” says Dr. Morris.

Dignity Health is located at 1992 Old Mission Drive Suite 140, Solvang. No appointment is needed, however there is a limited number of shots available for adults 18-64 years of age.

For more information, call 805-614-5690.

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John Palminteri

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