Improving community health, one vaccination at a time

May 24, 2017

When the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health announced that it would have to stop providing immunizations, including those provided to low-income residents, Providence St. Mary Medical Center stepped in to help.

Drive-through clinic provides 580 vaccinations

Annual drive-through flu shot clinic.

Collaborating with the health department, Providence St. Mary Medical Center provided a free drive-through flu shot clinic that attracted 580 people in 2016. Providence organizes the annual health event at the start of every flu season and plans to continue providing this important service for the community.

Under-vaccinated populations are at an increased risk for outbreaks of disease. At 38 percent, the adult immunization rate in Walla Walla County falls far below the statewide goal to vaccinate at least 80 percent of the population by 2020. To reduce the spread of illness, Providence sponsors the event with more than $43,000 in community benefit investments.

Community support and preparedness

In addition to support from a group of 80 caregiver and community volunteers, Providence partnered with the Walla Walla Community College of Nursing to make the event possible. The clinic also serves as an emergency preparedness drill to help the health care community practice for any future large-scale public immunizations.