A clinic Monday will continue a program of free flu shots for the Tracy community that began more than 50 years ago.
Sutter Tracy Community Hospital will host the clinic from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday for people of all ages, from 6-month-old babies on up, at the hospital’s main entrance, 1420 N. Tracy Blvd.
Free flu shot clinics began in the 1960s when obstetrician A.R. Glover saw a need to fight the spread of influenza.
In 1985, Dan Schack, a professional engineer, joined Glover in the effort, helping purchase the vaccines and arranging clinics at the hospital, at churches and even at the Tracy Press in some years.
Glover and Schack were joined by other doctors as they traveled around the area to deliver vaccinations to people unable to leave their homes.
“He was very influential to me as a mentor, almost like a father figure,” Schack said. “And the flu shot thing was very important to him, and so I kind of championed the cause with him.”
He has continued the free flu shot clinics after Glover’s death in 2006, saying he made a commitment to the older man.
Since the 1960s, the flu shot clinics organized by Glover and by Schack have delivered tens of thousands of vaccination doses. Schack said his clinics since 2006 have given out more than 10,500 vaccinations, including 430 at a clinic at the hospital in early October.
The vaccines, given by registered nurses, will help protect against the flu virus strains that are expected to be most common during the coming flu season.
Schack is also arranging for free vaccinations for people who are homeless — not just for the seasonal flu but also for hepatitis B.
“I wanted to try it and see what the response is,” Schack said. “I can get more vaccines, so I thought we would give it a try.”
The first opportunity will be at New Heart Community Church, 1647 Bessie Ave., on Monday, when Steve Thompson of Tracy Community Connections Center will have a mobile shower trailer set up at the church from 2 to 4:30 p.m.
“So I thought, when he has the showers there, let’s show up with a nurse and a doctor and see if they want to have flu shots,” Schack said. “I went and got 50 extra flu shots, and when I was down there talking to the county about it, they said, hepatitis is a big thing with the homeless, so how about if you give hepatitis shots? So I said, give me the vaccine and I will.”
Dr. Krosrow Vakhshouri will give the vaccinations Monday at New Heart and also Tuesday during a 5:30 p.m. community meal at Good Shepherd Community Church, 306 W. Eaton Ave.
Depending on the turnout and interest, Schack said he wants to arrange for more vaccinations over the next few weeks for the homeless community in Tracy.
“It’s a lifesaving opportunity,” he said.
Annual flu shots are recommended for almost all adults and children older than 6 months. Adults who are 65 or older with a current illness can receive a high-dose vaccine, of which the hospital has a limited supply, instead of the standard flu shot.