by Mary Rupert
About 200 or more people lined up by 8 a.m. Saturday to get free flu shots, turkeys and coats at the Mercy and Truth Clinic, 721 N. 31st St., Kansas City, Kansas.
The Warm Up Wyandotte event included free flu shots, turkeys and coats for the public.
A line stretched around the parking lot and led into the Mercy and Truth building, where participants filled out paperwork and got a flu shot. Then they could get a coat, if they wanted one, and a turkey.
According to volunteers, probably everyone in line by 8 a.m. would get flu shots and would have the opportunity to receive a coat, as about 500 “gently used” coats had been donated, and the turkey giveaway would be limited to the first 200 in line. Temperatures were expected to rise later on Saturday to about 65 in the afternoon, but it was around 39 degrees at 8 a.m. Saturday. The event ends at noon. According to volunteers, there would probably be enough flu shots and coats for everyone who attends today.
Geofrey Kigneyi, executive director of Mercy and Truth Clinics, noted there was a lot of community interest in the Warm Up Wyandotte event today. He was at the event today, making special arrangements for people in line who were in wheelchairs to get into the building.
Only 43 percent of Wyandotte County residents had received flu shots last year, and this flu shot distribution program was trying to increase the number who receive flu shots here, according to officials. About half of the patients at the clinic are uninsured.
Rick Dean, a volunteer at the clinic on Saturday, said often, those who don’t have insurance use the emergency rooms as their primary care, so that distributing more flu shots could reduce the number of people who go to the emergency rooms for severe side effects of the flu.
Also, when more persons receive flu shots, it makes the population more immune, weakening the virus as it strengthens the population’s immunity, he said. As a result, he said there are fewer children missing school, fewer employees missing work and fewer people going to the hospital.
The clinic started with 200 turkeys, flu shots and coats available here. They ran out of turkeys by around 9:15 a.m. here, according to a spokesman, and only 10 flu shots were left at the end of the Warm Up Wyandotte event.
Mercy and Truth Clinic will hold a second flu shot clinic open to the public from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at 11644 W. 75th St., Shawnee, Kansas. Another 200 free flu shots, turkeys and coats will be given away at the second clinic, until they run out.
The Warm Up Wyandotte event was sponsored by Mercy and Truth Clinic, Advent Health and Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Kansas City, and the program received many individual, corporate and nonprofit donations.