Flu-shot clinic doubles as emergency drill
EDWARDS – If there is a pandemic or other public-health emergency, Eagle County is ready.The county Health Department held a mass-vaccination exercise Saturday morning to test its ability to vaccinate a large number of people in a short amount of time. The “drill” was run during the county’s flu-shot clinic in Avon, Eagle and El Jebel.About 400 residents came to get vaccinated, and the drill was successful, said Jill Hunsaker, public health manager for Eagle County.”Vaccinating a large number of participants is the only way to test the system,” she said.The drill was part of a statewide emergency exercise. State health services distributed more than 10,000 seasonal flu vaccines to 29 locations. Saturday’s flu clinic was run with the help of regional and state health officials, so it was a good opportunity to make sure all the departments could work together, Hunsaker said.The emergency procedure is not only for the flu – it could be for any public-health emergency or disease outbreak – but pandemic flu is probably the most likely, Hunsaker said.Pandemic flu is much more contagious and severe than regular-season flu. In case of such an emergency, vaccines would be shipped out to distribution points around the state, health officials would spread the word through the media, and vaccine clinics would be set up.Eagle County is a distribution point and also would be responsible for shipping vaccines to surrounding areas, Hunsaker said.The mass-scale flu clinics were run with the help of Vail Valley Medical Center, the ambulance districts, Pitkin and Garfield county health departments and many volunteers.Edwards resident Nancy Alexander helped greet people who came for the shots and direct them to the right clinic room. As a member of the Community Emergency Response Team, she has emergency medical training.”We’re trained to be ready for emergencies, and if something actually did happen, we would be on call,” she said. Many residents came in less for the drill and more just to avoid the flu this season. Eagle-Vail resident Honore Everly said her whole family was getting vaccinated. One of her sons has epilepsy, and if he gets the flu, he cannot take his medicine, she said.”He can’t get it, so we can’t get it,” she said. “So we’re all just going to get vaccinated now.”============Upcoming Flu Clinics start at 2 p.m. and cost $5 for children and $20 for adults. Medicaid and Medicare are accepted.Avon 100 W. Beaver Creek Blvd., Suite 107. Call 949-7026 Tuesdays and ThursdaysEagle 551 Broadway, call 328-8840 Mondays and Thursdays El Jebel 20 Eagle County Drive, Suite E, call 704-2760 Mondays============Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or email@example.com.