The Redeemer United Methodist Church in Harper Woods will be offering free flu shots to the public on Monday, Sept. 28, in conjunction with Michigan Community Wellness VNA and Alana’s Foundation.

The Redeemer United Methodist Church in Harper Woods will be offering free flu shots to the public on Monday, Sept. 28, in conjunction with Michigan Community Wellness VNA and Alana’s Foundation.

Photo provided by Alana’s Foundation


Harper Woods church to offer free flu shots

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published September 17, 2020

HARPER WOODS — The Redeemer United Methodist Church in Harper Woods will be offering free flu shots to the public on Monday, Sept. 28.

Church leaders, including Administrative Assistant Phyllis Bellmore, said that providing such a service is important — particularly when local residents have limited options about getting them elsewhere.

“The congregation of Redeemer happens to be a fairly elderly congregation, so we wanted them to be safe. We’ve also been working on food drives and other programs lately, and no one else was offering flu shots, so we wanted to make sure someone was offering the people of the Harper Woods area this service,” said Bellmore. “Harper Woods seems to be a bit underserved in some areas, so we wanted to offer this.”

People can register for the event by calling the church at (313) 884-2035 or going to its website at www.myredeemerumc.org.

“We’ll have two times, a 12 p.m.-1:30 p.m. event and a 4-6 p.m. event,” Bellmore explained. “People preregister online by going to our website or calling the church. The day of the event they also can just walk in and register, but we hope as many people as possible will register ahead of time so we can plan appropriately. We’ll be following all social distancing guidelines issued by the state. The flu shots will be given out inside the church.”

Redeemer UMC is working with Michigan Community Wellness VNA and Alana’s Foundation to bring in the vaccines and the appropriate equipment and professionals trained in administering the shots.

“I have (registered nurses) administering the flu vaccine. We offer a senior dose for those age 65 and older and the regular vaccine. It covers ... four strains of the flu,” said Patty Van Loo, the wellness manager with Michigan Community Wellness VNA. “We’re all wearing masks and gloves. We have face shields and will have a lot of PPE available. We ask those coming in for the vaccines (to) wear masks too. The church staff will help us maintain social distancing. We’ll have the paperwork there if they haven’t preregistered.”

Alana’s Foundation will cover the cost of the vaccines.

“Getting a flu shot is the single best way to protect yourself, family, and community from the flu, as well as help with the fight against COVID-19 by minimizing hospital visits and overtaxing the health system,” said Zachary Yaksich, the president and executive director of Alana’s Foundation.

Van Loo said protection against the flu is more important than ever since it can exacerbate the symptoms of COVID-19 if they are both contracted at the same time.

“It’s one way that we’re going to help people as far as there’s not that double whammy of flu and COVID,” she said. “We’re afraid it’s going to hit at the same time, so if we can prevent the flu from being as rampant as usual, we can prevent COVID deaths.”

Bellmore said she has spoken to many residents who were eager to get a flu shot this year but nervous about going out to a busy drugstore or medical facility to get it due to COVID-19.

“We have been involved with the Healthy Grosse Pointe/Harper Woods initiative the last few years. We were talking with residents in the area, and some people have been a little reluctant going into a CVS or their doctor’s office to get a flu shot,” she said. “We talked with a group called the Visiting Nurses Association and were able to set up a flu shot day.”

Van Loo stressed that this is an opportunity for local residents to get their yearly vaccine in a safe and sanitary environment.

“We’ve done them all over the state. We’ve also done them outside on picnic tables and we’ve even had some where they are done in a drive-thru manner so as many people as possible can get their vaccine,” she said. “The flu is very virulent, and we want to encourage people to learn more about flu vaccines and how it is virtually painless. Prevention is important.”