Drive-thru flu shot clinic a success

Published 11:50 am Monday, October 15, 2007

By By Kerry Whipple Bean
Hundreds of cars moved smoothly through an assembly line of sorts Friday afternoon as the Alabama Department of Public Health administered drive-thru flu shots to Brewton and Atmore area residents.
First stop, pick up a clipboard; second stop, fill it out and drop it off; third stop, roll up your sleeve; fourth stop, pick up a packet of flu information.
"Overall it's flowed really well," said Ricky Elliott, an assistant administrator with the health department. "We've exercised our plan."
The drive-thru event – held amid a few mooing cows just beside the Extension Service's stockyard – was not just an opportunity to deliver the flu vaccine to residents, Elliott said. It was also a drill that enabled health department employees to put their emergency plan into action.
"We need to be able to vaccinate everyone in the county within 24 to 36 hours in an event like a biological or terrorist attack," Elliott said.
Such a plan would also be used if a massive flu epidemic occurred.
The health department worked with the Escambia County Emergency Management office and the Red Cross to put on the event.
"We're very pleased," said EMA Director David Adams, who helped direct traffic Friday. "With anything we find issues we want to make better, but we're not missing anyone. No one is having to wait a long period of time."
In the first hour Friday afternoon, nurses inoculated 224 people. In Atmore that morning, health department workers served about 600 people, Elliott said. From the time a car drove up until it drove away, the process only took about five minutes. Two nurses' stations were set up to deliver shots.
Elliott said the drill gave him and ADPH employees an idea of how they can improve the process in the case of an emergency.
"This is wonderful for us," he said. "And the citizens coming through really appreciate it."

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