Employees Drive Up for Free Flu Shots

COVID-19 pandemic “has definitely raised awareness” of need for seasonal vaccinations

(BENSON) When Robert Bivens pulled up to the flu shot clinic set up in the north parking lot of the Benson campus, he wasn’t just thinking of himself when it comes to preventing a case of the flu.

“You don’t want to see any of your family, your loved ones, friends, anybody getting sick because there’s something that you got that you could have prevented, and you pass it on to somebody else,” Bivens said.

Bivens, AzGT transmission maintenance manager, was one of more than 40 AzGT employees who took advantage of the drive-up flu shot clinic on September 24.

Robert Bivens, transmission maintenance manager, looks on as Michael Harrington administers the flu shot during the drive-up clinic at the Benson campus. Apache Station employees were able to get the free flu shots during a similar clinic held the day before at Apache Station. “I just believe in getting the flu shot every year,” Bivens said.

More than 20 Apache Station workers took advantage of the flu shot clinic offered the day before at the Apache Station firehouse.

Overall, it was a good turnout, said Shannon Garner, HR generalist I, who worked with Safeway pharmacy managers to schedule the clinics, which were held earlier this year than in previous years.

“We want to get them done early so our employees can stay healthy and when we’re able to come back to work we have a safe, healthy environment here,” said Garner

“We offer this every year for our employees and I think this year it’s more important for everybody to be safe and because of the pandemic flu shots are even more important this year,” Garner said.

Michael Harrington, pharmacy manager for the Safeway store in Benson, said the pandemic is prompting more people than ever to get their flu shots.

“It’s definitely raised awareness and the recommendations are for everybody to get a flu vaccination this year and people are definitely heeding that advice,” said Harrington.

“The big thing is, with COVID, we don’t want to have a major flu outbreak and then also have a flare up of COVID” because of the negative impact that would have on hospitals and other medical care facilities.

The AzGT and Safeway team coordinating the flu shot clinics include (l-r) Shannon Garner, HR generalist I; Michael Harrington, pharmacy manager/Benson Safeway; Katrina Pedraza, grad pharmacy intern; and Melissa Molitor, district pharmacy manager, Safeway.

Bivens said more people need to be aware of concerns like that because of how a jump in flu cases on top of the potential for spikes in COVID cases could combine and spread through the community.

“I think (COVID) has opened up a lot of people’s lives on being sick and how fast something can spread from one person to the other, and that underscores just how important it is to keep your protection on, get your flu shots, so that you stay safe and healthy. Having three grandkids, I don’t want to be sick and maybe not know it and pass it on to them and make them sick,” Bivens said.

Harrington credited AzGT for “being proactive” every year.

“It’s exciting to have a company that is so proactive for its employees and takes care of their health needs,” Harrington said.

Garner said everyone involved worked hard to set up and operate the clinics.

“Our facilities guys were great with getting the tables set up, marking off the parking lot, putting up the tents, getting water, so it was a real group effort,” Garner said.

“(Safeway) is great. The regional director with the pharmacy is the one I coordinate with; we schedule a time, I look at my calendar and we tell them we want to do it on this day and these times, they send us some flyers, they schedule it, then the Safeway team shows up with the shots,” Garner said.

Harrington had one message for any AzGT employees who may have missed the clinics.

“If you haven’t had your flu shot I definitely recommend it. Get it now,” Harrington said.