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Local pharmacy rises up to provide flu shots for community

When the annual Hesston Health Fair was canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, community members began asking how they would be able to get their seasonal flu shots.

Many Harvey County residents were expressing hesitancy to visit health care facilities with the pandemic going on, and with the health fair not taking place, options were looking scarce. Then Sandie Kueker, pharmacist and co-owner of local Hesston Pharmacy with husband and pharmacist Adam Kueker, sprang into action.

The pharmacy started off by offering curbside flu shots but knew they would need to expand their efforts to reach more of their community. That is when they developed the idea for a drive-thru flu clinic.

“Flu shots are always important but you really don’t want to have influenza and COVID,” said Sandie. “We just want to be sure that if there is a way to help keep people healthy, we’re doing it.”

Due to limited outside space at the pharmacy’s location, they reached out to a local church who was more than happy to let the pharmacy staff use their parking lot for the clinic. Then after connecting with the original organizers of the health fair for tips and advice, they began contacting the local bank and newspaper to help spread the word about the event. They also reached out to the local Chief of Police to get assistance on traffic control.

“It’s a great example of how you can work with others in the community and what you can accomplish when everyone comes together,” Sandie said.

Thanks to the community grant that normally funds the health fair, the pharmacy will be able to offer the flu shots free of charge for any recipient, regardless if they have insurance or not. There will be up to 380 flu shots available and people can receive them without leaving their vehicles.

“At the end of the day, we want to care for our patients in the community the same way that our families are cared for,” said Sandie. “And we want our families to have a safe option to get their flu shot.”

The drive-thru flu clinic runs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. this Saturday morning at Hesston United Methodist Church.