Critics of drive-through clinics that offer flu shots like tacos and burgers have raised concerns about the potential for auto accidents, fainting risks and other hazards to patients.
But an extensive study of the use of drive-thru influenza immunization clinics, conducted by the University of Louisville School of Medicine, has found such concerns are unfounded.
Since the beginning of an annual drive-thru vaccine program begun in 1995 at the University of Louisville Hospital, more than 50,000 flu shots have been administered, without a single report of fainting, auto accidents or other problems.
"Some experts in the field have placed their fears about fainting risks ahead of fact, and we wanted to dispel the myths," said Ruth Carrico, who led the study, published in the Journal of Emergency Management. "We have created safe drive-thru processes that we feel lead to safer communities."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that fainting is a risk of influenza inoculation, but Carrico said the information is probably based on more traditional settings and doesn't account for a drive-thru program where recipients stay seated and are already in a familiar setting.
"We found a person's chance of fainting during a drive-thru vaccination is less than the probability of being struck by lightning," she said.
Carrico said the research team plans to release information detailing how communities can develop drive-thru immunization clinics. It will be available through the university’s Center for Health Hazards Preparedness website: www.publichealthtools.com
"We hope the toolkit will increase the capacity and infrastructure of the nation to administer immunization or other emergency countermeasures quickly, efficiently and safely," Carrico said.
This project was funded, in part, by the U. S. Department of Homeland Security.