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Operation Immunization Will Offer Free Flu Shots In Wichita

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Operation Immunization, a partnership between the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy-Wichita and the United Way of the Plains, will provide free flu vaccinations next month.

The vaccinations will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis while supplies last. To be eligible, children must be at least 6 years old and accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The 10th annual event hopes to aid people who are unemployed, uninsured or unable to afford vaccines as flu season approaches.

The flu is a highly preventable illness and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and health care professionals urge everyone to get vaccinated this fall. According to the CDC, people miss approximately 17 million workdays each year due to the flu.

Students from the KU School of Pharmacy, supervised by licensed pharmacists, will administer $20,000 worth of vaccines provided by United Way.

Amy Robertson of the KU School of Pharmacy is a previous co-chair of Operation Immunization. She says the event is beneficial to both the people receiving flu shots and to the KU pharmacy students, who get practical experience.

“Our student pharmacists have been able to vaccinate over 10,000 Wichita community members who otherwise likely wouldn’t have had access,” Robertson said.

Operation Immunization falls under United Way’s “Special Initiatives,” which are projects that aim to address the cause of issues in the community. Patrick Hanrahan, president of United Way of the Plains, says providing immunizations is an important preventative measure for the community.

“The more we can eliminate the root causes of problems, the more we can be effective years down the road,” he said,

The event runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, at six Wichita locations:

? GraceMed, 1122 N. Topeka

? Guadalupe Clinic, 2825 S. Hillside

? Guadalupe Clinic, 940 S. St. Francis

? HealthCore Clinic, 2702 E. 21st St. N.

? Hunter Health Clinic 527 N. Grove

? Café con Leche, North High School, 1437 N. Rochester

Mya Acosta is an intern in the KMUW News Lab.