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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Flu shot clinic a success

  • Hundreds of Steuben County residents lined up Thursday afternoon, rolled up their sleeves and may have grit their teeth – a bit – as they participated in a county wide flu clinic.

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  • Hundreds of Steuben County residents lined up Thursday afternoon, rolled up their sleeves and may have grit their teeth – a bit – as they participated in a county wide flu clinic.
    A joint venture between the county Public Health Department and the Bath VA the two-hour free clinic took walk-ins at the Bath Volunteer Fire Department, or “drive-throughs” at the Steuben County Fairgrounds.
    The purpose of the clinic was to test the county’s emergency response, with a goal of inoculating 200 people per hour, county Public Health spokeswoman Vicki Fuerst said.
    That goal was came close to being met at the fire station, where 170 people received the flu vaccine during the first hour, Fuerst said.
    Turnout was lower but respectable at the fairgrounds, due to less interest by the public and minor transportation problems bringing in busloads of senior citizens, VA Incident Commander Judy Schwingel.
    Drive throughs at the fairgrounds the first hour numbered 111, according to the county Public Health Department.
    Both sites had problems with computer breakdowns at the beginning, which prevented them from meeting the goal. Each site already had forms to be filled, in the event of a problem.
    Fuerst said the problem at the fire hall was the number of computers – which overloaded the system.
    “So we learned from this,” she said. “Next year, maybe a couple less computers.”
      The county has held a number of mass flu clinics, going back nearly a decade, Fuerst said.
    Each clinic is set up by the state to test an area’s
    ability to respond to a catastrophe, she said.
    The most notable mass inoculation clinic may have been in 2009, in response to the real concern about the Swine Flu, which had reached a worldwide epidemic stage.
    That year county residents braved the cold and rain, standing in lines around the block surrounding the county office building in Bath.
    Pandemics like the swine flu scare – or a bioterrorism threat – is why the state sponsors the clinics, Schwingel said.
    And medical trained personnel received the experience they may have to use during a catastrophe some day, officials said.
    Schwingel said one reason for the lower turnout may be people are more resistant to the idea of standing in line for hours than they were in the past.“But in a real emergency, people would wait as long as they needed to,” she said.

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