Uninsured families find relief during the flu season

December 17, 2012
Author: Brandi Sweet

Contact: Brandi Sweet, Prosperity Center Coordinator, (801) 214-3148,bsweet@slcap.org
Date: December 17, 2012

Uninsured Families Find Relief During the Flu Season

5 Parks Flu ClinicFor many adults and children in the Salt Lake metro area, access to preventable medical care for illnesses such as Influenza (the flu), is  not a reality.  Each year, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the flu is responsible for thousands of deaths in the United States, especially among vulnerable populations such as young children and the elderly.  While experts predict this year’s flu season to be particularly bad (starting earlier and impacting more people) the cost of obtaining a vaccination without health insurance is upwards of fifty dollars per vaccination.  This cost is simply too much for many who are unemployed or underemployed and are already struggling to meet basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. 

On December 15, 2013, many community members without health insurance braved the winter weather and visited the new Five Parks Community Action Center in West Valley City to receive free vaccinations at a mobile Flu Shot Clinic sponsored by the Community Nursing Services of Utah.  Forty-seven flu shots were provided at the event, and children received photos with Spikey the flu bug, balloons, and candy.  Adults received access to information from community partners about other supporting services available to them.  The event was provided by the support of the United Way of Salt Lake and many community supporters.  The event was the first of many to come held by the Five Parks Community Action in the center’s brand new location.  The center has been providing services for more than a year to the community without an official location.  The new center will not officially open until January of 2013. 

“We were thrilled to see so many families come in to get immunized against the flu”, said Mavis McAffee, Director of CNS’ Immunization Program. McAffee went on to say that “we were also providing free TDAP shots for uninsured adults to help protect against Whooping Cough.  50% of the adults attending the clinic also received a TDAP shot.”

The Five Parks Community Action Center is operated by the Salt Lake Community Action Program.  The center is one of two new United Way neighborhood centers in West Valley City that are supported by community organizations and is referred to as the Promise Partnership of West Valley.  The Promise Partnership effort is part of an overarching collective effort to provide targeted and strategic services to low-to-moderate income individuals and families in the birth to career pipeline to help them overcome the barriers of poverty.  Through the Promise Partnerships, the Five Parks Community Action Center is able to provide services in the areas of health, income, education and community engagement.   The Five Parks Community Action Center is the largest neighborhood center supported by the United Way serving nearly 5,000 people living in approximately 1250 housing units in the five mobile home communities and apartments along 1200 West and 3300 South in West Valley City: Byde-A-Wyle Haciendas, Riverside Manufactured Home Community, Sunrise Meadows, Meadowbrook, Silo Farms and the Village at River’s Edge).  The center is also the only United Way of Salt Lake Neighborhood Center that is serving the unique needs of low income families living in manufactured homes.

 “The children and families here today would likely not get a flu shot this year if it wasn’t for this partnership effort,” said Brandi Sweet, Prosperity Center Coordinator for the Five Parks Community Action Center. “This event alone could possibly save one of these children’s lives or even prevent an illness that would leave an adult unable to work resulting in their ability to provide for themselves and their families”. 

5 Parks flu clinic 2The Community Nursing Services (CNS) is one of eight community partners providing services in the new Five Parks Community Action Center.  Established in 1928, the CNS is Utah’s oldest nonprofit home health organization.  CNS offers convenient, full-service immunizations for children and adults through a year round walk-in clinic in Salt Lake City, a seasonal walk-in clinic in Ogden, and through mobile clinics, such as what was provided at the Five Parks center last weekend.

Learn more about the Five Parks Community Action Center by visitingwww.fiveparks.org and the Community Nursing Services by visiting www.cns-cares.org.