DRAIN — Aurora Meixner wasn’t looking forward to getting her shots Saturday, but her mother, Angela Van Buren, and older sister Ivory were there for support.
Still, Aurora, 12, was feeling skeptical. Asked how she felt about needles, she uttered a sound that might most accurately be spelled, “mnehhm oh.”
The last time she’d gotten a shot was in 2009. Now she was due for DTAP, HPV and meningitis shots. That DTAP would leave her feeling like she’d been punched in the arm, warned Umpqua Community Health Center vaccination coordinator Sallie Dean, as she brought Aurora out after her shots and asked her to wait 15 minutes.
It would also protect her from tetanus and whooping cough, while the other two shots would protect her from cervical cancer and meningitis — all potentially deadly diseases.
UCHC offered the shots Saturday at the clinic building in Drain where the Douglas County Public Health Department once held regular hours.
Walk-in vaccinations are available regularly at the UCHC’s clinics operated in Myrtle Creek, Sutherlin and Roseburg, but immunizations aren’t often available in Drain. Aurora’s mother, Angela Van Buren of Oakland, was glad for the chance to get her daughter’s shots relatively close to home, and on a Saturday, since she works Monday through Fridays.
“So when I found out this was going on on Saturday, it was like ‘Yes!’” she said. They were the third family to turn up for the immunization clinic. It’s the first year that UCHC has offered the rural immunization outreach program. Last weekend, shots were available in Yoncalla.
Head Start workers were also on hand Saturday, ready to give out information about early learning programs. The program was also sponsored by the Women Infants and Children nutrition program, Yoncalla Early Works and the Children’s Institute.
A dental van operated by the UCHC’s Got Smile? program was available outside, ready to offer dental screenings, sealants to protect molars from cavities and flouride varnishes. Deanna Willey said they hadn’t had any takers yet as of about noon.
Not long after Aurora and her family left the clinic newly protected against a host of unfriendly germs, Rachell Reel of Drain and her daughter Sara Reel walked in.
Sara wasn’t too concerned about getting her shots.
“I’m not that afraid of needles,” she said.
Rachell Reel said she was excited to have the service right there in town. She had taken Sara to an urgent care facility in Cottage Grove, but the shots weren’t available. Then Sara received a flyer at school telling her about the shots available Saturday.
“It’s difficult because I work in Eugene, trying to conduct your life on a Saturday when nobody’s open,” Rachell Reed said. “It’s very helpful that this was open.”
Sara wasn’t fazed afterward by the three shots she received — two in one arm and one in the other.
“I feel fine,” she said. The tetanus shot was “the one that hurt the most, but it wasn’t that bad.”