FLOWER MOUND, Texas — Eight-year-old Ashlee Molck held a stuffed animal to ease her fears. Other children relied on mom to dry their tears.
There was anxiety over the idea of a flu shot. But in reality, the anxiety is nothing compared to the flu itself.
"The flu is a deadly disease," said Beth Stodieck, lead nurse of the Care Van Program, which is part of the Caring for Children Foundation of Texas. "The flu is not something that's going to go away in a few days."
For the Molck family of McKinney, the flu is terrifying.
"I'm actually a lymphoma survivor, and I had a couple of stem cell transplants," said Kristi Molck, the mother of Ashlee and Drew, who's 10. "My doctor was adamant that the children — and really all three of us — be immunized."
So Molck drove for more than an hour in a rainstorm Wednesday to get to Care Van's free clinic in Flower Mound.
Ashlee, holding tight to her stuffed "Monkey Moo," got a squirt of the flu mist in both nostrils; then her brother got the mist, too.
The Caring for Children Foundation of Texas is circling the state with its Care Van, vaccinating kids who have no insurance, like the Molcks.
Stodieck said interest is higher this year than in most recent flu seasons. "We haven't really had a bad flu outbreak in the last few years, so parents have gotten a little complacent," she said. "Then — all of a sudden — we get a break like this year, and people realize how much they need it."
"By getting a flu shot, you give your child the best shot there is," she said.
Stodieck's program vaccinated 240 children in two hours Wednesday night. Care Van prefers to give the flu mist to children because it goes to work right away.
"You get good immunity within two to three days," Stodieck explained.
There was a constant crowd at Wednesday's clinic at Forestwood Middle School. Families are frightened by tragedies, like what happened to Max Schwolert.
The Flower Mound teen contracted the flu, then pneumonia, and then an infection.
He died just after Christmas. He was just 17.
"As soon as you hear that you'll do anything it takes to protect your kids and yourself," Molck said.