Thrive by IU Health

June 01, 2021

It’s flu season – Pharmacist aims at 4,000 shots

IU Health Saxony Hospital

It’s flu season – Pharmacist aims at 4,000 shots

Heidi Barnett, a pharmacist at IU Health Saxony, is serious about flu season. She’s working to inoculate as many patients as her time allows.

By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes,

There’s a simple reason why Heidi Barnett is running from one location to the next – around the city and outside the city: “I have a special interest in protecting people,” said Barnett, the pharmacy manger at IU Health Saxony.

This time of year, that protection means administering flu shots.

Barnett with pharmacist coworkers

Working with two other pharmacists – Aimee Vine and Melanie Plantenga – Barnett is canvasing the city and beyond visiting 100 off-site clinics. Another pharmacist, Molly Ittenbach and technicians Marsha Busby and Jennifer Brown maintain the retail pharmacy when Barnett, Vine and Plantenga are off site.

Barnett anticipates administering 4,000 flu shots at locations that include Indianapolis Public Schools, Anderson University and the Indianapolis Public Library. The team travels to Evansville, Bloomington, Lafayette, Muncie, Fishers and Carmel working with businesses that advocate for healthy employees.

They’re in good company. Barnett who has been with IU Health nine years grew up in Anderson and attended Purdue University. She’s a big advocate for preventative health.

“My dad died of pancreatic cancer when I was little and that’s always been pushing me toward the healthcare field,” said Barnett, the daughter of Robert Reifel and Sherry Minton. “I chose pharmacy because I have a passion for helping people. I am especially passionate about preventative care. I think if you can protect people from getting sick then you should do everything you can to keep them healthy.” In addition to the flu shot clinics, Barnett actively participates in obesity awareness, and tobacco cessation programs.

“More and more companies are investing in their employees. They want them to stay healthy and that keeps us busy,” said Barnett, who is married to Kristopher Barnett. They keep busy at home participating in any kind of sports with their two boys Eli, 7 and Kaleb, 9.

Flu season is at its peak between October and May. Although anyone can get the flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports infants and young children, people over the age of 65, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems are most susceptible. The CDC recommends everyone six months of age or older be vaccinated during flu season. Children six months to eight years of age may need two doses during flu season. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to provide protection

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