1,000 points of ‘Ouch!’

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By Cindy DiFazio

Staff writer/photographer

How would you like to get a free flu shot?

On Tuesday, Oct. 6, you might just get your chance. The vaccines will be administered by the North Central Health District at Henry County High School that day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. But act fast — only 1,000 vials of the vaccine are available, according to Bruce Owens, director of the Henry County Department of Emergency Management.

The shots are part of a disaster training exercise, and participants must be 18 or older.

The shots are for the traditional flu strain, not the H1N1 virus.

“This will take place during fall break so there will be adequate parking with entrance and exit routes indicated,” Owens said. Kentucky State Police and local law enforcement will provide parking assistance and security.

WHEELS will provide transportation to elderly and disabled people wishing to participate.

“We have a drive-through for that,” Owens said. “Health department personnel will go up on the bus and give the shots.”

Owens said until a few years ago he didn’t see the need to get an annual flu shot. “I wasn’t big on the flu shots,” he said. “On the advice of my family doctor, I’ve been getting the shot for six to eight years and I haven’t been sick a day.”

Though the shot to be administered at the training exercise is not effective against H1N1, the training that emergency personnel receive is crucial to preparing for the possibility of a pandemic incident such as H1N1.

Owens said this is the fourth year for Henry County’s participation in the Strategic National Stockpile exercise. 

A pandemic is defined as a widespread countrywide or global outbreak of an infectious disease.

“The H1N1 could be a reality,”  he said. “We practice these things so we’ll know exactly what to do.”

According to a letter to the editor published in the Local when the H1N1 was first being reported, Representative Rick Rand stated Kentucky is, in general, well prepared for such an outbreak. “Kentucky has generally gotten high marks in this area over the years, which is a testament to the hard work of our county health departments,” he wrote.

Owens recommended that participants arrive early to get a place in line for the shot, but said the entire process will take just 10-15 minutes.


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