Central Oregonians line up for flu shots

Many young children vaccinated at Bend clinic

POSTED: 4:48 PM PST January 18, 2013    UPDATED: 5:30 PM PST January 18, 2013 
BEND, Ore. -

The nationwide flu epidemic had people lining up in Bend Friday, rolling up their sleeves to get their flu shots. The Deschutes County Health Department expanded the hours of its flu shot clinic to help more people get vaccinated.

St. Charles shared its supply of the vaccine with the health department for several people getting pricked in the arm or sprayed up the nose.

Two-year-old Malayo and his father, Emanuel Meza, came in together as a team, hoping not to get sick this flu season.

"It was pretty hard to find some place that had any shots left," Meza said. "They (kids) tend to get sick easier and then spread it to everyone else in the family."

Kids of all ages, from toddlers to teens were there. Many parents in the room said seeing their child sick is a helpless feeling and they'll try to do anything to prevent it.

"It's pretty hard, because you have to take them to the doctor, and then give them medicine, and you don't want to see your kid suffer, and see them sick," Meza said.

Each shot started at $15, a price many said wass worth the trouble. The clinic was scheduled for three hours, but extended to five so more people could fit it into their day.

'I spoke with someone who was able to get their child out of school, because it was close to the lunch hour," health coordinator Tom Kuhn said. "So we're hoping that we can really hit various populations and people who have to work, and school kids, and really try to get as many types of people vaccinated."

Kuhn said he doesn't expect the county to run out of the vaccine, but that doesn't mean people should wait any longer to get their shots.

"This is really giving us some time to be proactive and really trying to protect our population here in Oregon, before we have the same kind of thing going on that's happening in the east coast," said Kuhn.

Malayo stayed strong and didn't even cry when he got the shot. He showed off his prize: a sticker for a job well done.

"It's definitely a piece of mind now, that he's not going to get sick, or less chance anyway," said Meza.

Those who could not attend Friday's clinic have another chance to get a flu shot. Mosaic Medical will have a walk-in clinic from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.