Hospital provides flu vaccinations for Rowan Helping Ministries guests

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 9, 2012

By Shavonne Potts
SALISBURY — George Graves is concerned about his health. He tries to get a flu vaccine every year. This year, the flu shot came to him.
Graves is a shelter guest at Rowan Helping Ministries and he, like more than 20 other guests received the flu vaccine Monday courtesy of Rowan Regional Medical Center.
The hospital purchased flu vaccine and provided volunteers to administer the shots to all shelter guests and transitional residents who wanted to have a shot.
“Rowan Regional tries to look for ways to help the community,” said hospital President Dari Caldwell.
Caldwell, who was also on hand, helped guests fill out paperwork before receiving a shot.
She said the hospital wants to “be able to step up and do the right thing for the folks who need us.”
It was the first time the hospital has provided the flu vaccine to the agency.
Caldwell credited Vice President of Corporate Compliance Valarie Stewart for seeing there was a need and organizing to have the need met.
“Everyone here should take it,” Graves said.
Graves had been a shelter guest sometime ago prior to being incarcerated. He found himself back at the shelter late in December.
“I left and things didn’t work out. It was best for me to come back,” he said.
Graves now volunteers at the shelter doing laundry and working with the food pantry.
“There ain’t nothing in the streets but trouble,” Graves said.
He considered being able to get vaccinated a blessing.
“It is a blessing and I’m more than happy to have it,” he said.
Vicky Madison, another shelter guest, was also happy to receive a flu shot.
She recently got over a bug that left her sick for about three weeks.
Madison said she doesn’t want to get sick again, especially after being out in the elements during the day.
“It’s awful to be sick and be out in the cold. I appreciate them,” she said.
“It’s important that people stay healthy and this is just a great community partnership that we have and very generous on behalf of Rowan RMC to be here and to have volunteers here to help to administer the vaccination,” said Executive Director Kyna Foster.
Foster said she felt good about having a healthy environment.
“We live communally in our shelter and for everyone to have this vaccine is real important and it helps us all stay healthier,” she said.
Foster said the partnership goes beyond Monday’s flu shots. The hospital also provides educational discussions to participants in the agency’s New Tomorrows program about health issues.
“Anytime we have a need of blankets or gloves we can call Rowan Regional and their employees step up and respond to the needs in the community,” Foster said.
The last time Deshune Liles received the flu shot, he was in sixth grade.
The 20-year-old said he wanted to avoid being sick.
David Abbott thinks it’s wonderful for those who can’t afford it, he said.
Abbott, who is also a shelter guest, was able to receive the vaccine.
He said he tries to get the flu shot every year.
“It’s good they have this help for people who don’t have good income right now,” said James Jones, who received the vaccine along with his fiancee.
There are low incidents of the flu and its still early in the season, said Kay Pierce, a registered nurse.
Pierce volunteered to administer the vaccine along with husband, Bobby, also a registered nurse.
The flu vaccine that was given, Kay Pierce said, included the H1N1 vaccine.
Pierce said the staff were using the dead virus, which has no chance of making recipients sick.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.