Marion administers flu shots at drive through clinic

Oct 8, 2020

MARION — Residents from across the Tri-Town came out for drive through flu shots in the Benjamin D. Cushing Community Center parking lot on Oct. 8. For public officials, the clinic doubled as a dry run for covid vaccine distribution. 

At a station set up at the parking lot entrance, residents got their temperatures checked and were asked to get insurance cards out before moving on to get their shots. 

Then, their insurance was checked and put on record at a second station before cars were ushered over to the nurse’s station, where shots were administered. 

After receiving their shots, residents either drove away from the clinic, or if they had never received a flu vaccine before, were monitored for 15 minutes after the shot was administered. 

The drive through clinic allowed for both health officials and residents to maintain social distance when possible. 

“I don’t know if we would’ve gone to this extreme if there weren’t covid,” Town Administrator Jay McGrail said. 

Initially, McGrail said, the Board of Selectmen wasn’t sure if it could pull off a socially distanced vaccine distribution, but after watching a few other municipalities hold drive through clinics, the town had a framework. 

“This is all new to us,” McGrail said. “It’s an amazing event to pull off when we haven’t done it before.” 

McGrail attributed much of the planning of the event to Marion’s new Public Health Nurse Lori Desmarais.

McGrail said the town had around 180 minutes to distribute shots to about 150 people, and he said it went smoothly in part because the clinic was up and running an hour ahead of schedule.

“We were extremely prepared and that really helped,” McGrail said. 

But as the weather gets colder, distributing vaccinations outdoors may not continue to be as seamless of a process. In an effort to prepare for distribution in the cold, McGrail said the town used grant money from Plymouth County to purchase a large drive through tent to be used if the town sets up a drive through covid vaccine clinic.