Minnesota Hospital Association


May 26, 2021

Drive-thru flu shots provide safe vaccination opportunity during COVID-19

This story is featured in MHA's community benefit report.

The COVID‐19 pandemic laid out a series of challenges, but keeping the community healthy and safe was especially important to Glencoe Regional Health. In April 2020, the health system launched an outdoor, drive‐up COVID‐19 testing site for patients. The success of the drive‐up COVID‐19 testing site inspired a new drive‐thru flu shots program that allowed patients to quickly receive their flu shot without leaving their vehicle. Families were able to drive through and receive their flu shots together. This option was not only more convenient for patients, but it allowed for further social distancing during the pandemic.

This new way to offer flu shots was very successful and well received. Drive‐thru flu shots were offered on 12 evenings in September and October, from 5-7 p.m. Appointments were full every evening except for one, when a snowstorm resulted in cancellations. Glencoe Regional Health administered flu shots to 719 patients during this drive‐thru service.

Many patients shared positive comments about the drive‐thru flu shots. Parents commented about the ease of not having to bring their small children into the clinic. Some people jokingly said, “This was so easy. I’m never going into the clinic again.”

Others made it an outing: “First we’re getting our flu shots, and then we’re going to get take‐out food from Unhinged Pizza. We don’t get out much anymore.”

Older patients thanked the health system for providing this safe, socially distant service. Many patients were new to Glencoe Regional Health and drove from surrounding towns.

One evening, a family of seven drove 60 miles all the way from Inver Grove Heights to get their flu shots in Glencoe. They searched for “drive‐thru flu shots” online and Glencoe Regional Health came up. Most of their local options were already booked, so they scheduled an appointment in Glencoe. It was important for them to find a safe alternative to getting their family vaccinated during an in‐person clinic visit. Glencoe Regional Health was honored to be able to provide this service for them.