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Baton Rouge Drive-Thru flu shot clinic serves as test run for potential COVID vaccine distributions

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BATON ROUGE - As people plan to gather with their families for Thanksgiving, healthcare workers are pushing for everyone to get a flu shot.

Drive-thru flu shots were made available Thursday at the health unit in Baton Rouge, and appointments were not necessary. The strategy for issuing the shots is similar to the plan for COVID once a vaccine is available.

"With COVID this year, we don't have time to play around. Get your vaccine," said Jennifer Carlwile, one of the first few people in line.

Doctors say it's even more important for people to get the flu vaccine as COVID-19 continues to spread throughout communities. As cases surge, drive-thru distributions have become a more popular way to get vaccinations.

"It's one of the more efficient models that we have where we can vaccinate large numbers of people at a given time," said Gina Lagarde, a doctor with the Louisiana Department of Health.

Health care workers plan to use this drive-thru model to vaccinate people against COVID when a solution is approved by the FDA.

"This is our way to make sure we will be ready to vaccinate the general population. Whether that's for influenza, like we're doing right now or the COVID vaccine that will be coming up," Lagard said.

The idea is to build the public's confidence in the vaccine process. Lagarde says it's clear with this particular vaccine that people will need time to embrace it.

"I'm a little nervous just because it feels rushed compared to the way vaccines usually come out, but there's so many scientists working on this that I do feel that when they say it's ready I believe it'll be ready," Carwile said.

Until then, leaders urge people to get their flu shot and follow COVID-19 safety guidelines.

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