Health Department to offer 1,000 free flu shots

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By Cindy DiFazio

Staff writer/photographer

Getting a free flu shot is like putting $20 back in your pocket. That’s the opportunity offered to 1,000 residents in the North Central District Health Department, including Henry County.

There are only a couple of stipulations. Participants must be at least 18 and be willing to participate in a mock emergency exercise.

Senior Environmentalist/Public Information Officer Tony Millet said the health department will take part in a Strategic National Stockpile exercise to demonstrate its ability to order, receive and distribute federal resources in a crisis situation. He said the goal is to prepare health departments and emergency service personnel to protect the public and aid in reducing the effects of a natural disaster or bio-terrorism incident.

This is the third annual exercise in the area, and will be held in Trimble County. “We did this in Shelby last year and Spencer County the year before,” he said. “Next year it will be in Henry County.”

Millet said the NCDHD will create a mass clinic environment simulating a real event that offers workers real life experience. “Our nurses will give the shots,” he said, “and our people are planning the event.”

Millet said it offers the public a unique opportunity to experience how a large scale emergency medical event would be handled by local responders.

The Trimble County Judge Executive’s office, local and state law enforcement, Emergency Management, local fire departments, the Trimble County School System and volunteers helped coordinate the exercise. “The judge’s office secured the building for us to use,” Millet said, “as well as paving the way for emergency services to help out.” Law enforcement personnel and emergency services personnel are paid participants. “The health department is the driving force,” he said.

The event will be held at the Bedford Elementary School on Wednesday, October 8 at 9 a.m. Participants should arrive early to secure a place in line. “I recommend folks show up around 8:30,” Millet said. “It’s first come, first serve.”

Millet projects registration and vaccinations will take about ten minutes per participant.

He said turnout in past years was lower than he expects this year. “We didn’t get to advertise because of a vaccine shortage,” Millet said. “This year we’re putting it out there and hoping to get a good response.”

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