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Free flu shots for first 1,000 people

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By The Staff

By TONY MILLET

Special to The Trimble Banner

Preparing for future events is a difficult task; it takes planning, coordination, willingness to work toward a common goal and the desire to complete the task. North Central District Health Department has been working in preparation to protect the public and aid in reducing the effects of a natural disaster or bio-terrorism incident. On October 8, the health department and other local agencies will be working towards their goal to protect the public by the use of a large-scale event called The SNS (Strategic National Stockpile) exercise.

The SNS is a national repository of antibiotics, chemical antidotes, vaccines and other medical and surgical items to be used in the event of an emergency or terrorist attack. The SNS Exercise is an event where local and state agencies will participate in a mock emergency or terrorist event, which will demonstrate our ability to carry out a number of duties including getting supplies to a remote vaccination site for mass inoculations. This event will test our ability to order, receive and distribute to the community federal assets that would be used in a public health event. Throughout the nation, the federal government has mandated that all local health departments develop these plans in order to rapidly establish and operate clinic sites in their local communities in the event of a public health emergency.

The North Central District Health Department has risen to the challenge by instituting this full training exercise program that will commence on October 8th. This training program will include a number of agencies throughout the four counties of North Central District. The health department is working in close cooperation with the Trimble County Judge’s office, the local and state law enforcement officers, Emergency Management, local fire departments, Trimble County School system and many volunteers. All of these individual agencies have come together in order to protect the public and care for their communities, neighbors and friends.

This large scale event will take place at the Bedford Elementary School located on Mount Pleasant road in Bedford, Kentucky and will begin at 9:00 a.m. In order to make the event as accurate as possible, the North Central District Health Department will be distributing 1000 free flu shots to the general public. This will drive the mass clinic simulating a realistic event, allowing the health department workers to experience an actual emergency incident. Anyone wishing to participate in this event, please be at the school as early as possible and bring a loved one since the flu shots will be on a first come first served basis.

As part of the general public, you will have a unique opportunity to see and experience how a mass flu clinic works. Upon arrival to the event you will see the increased security that will direct you into the parking area. From the parking area you will enter the main building to a uniform line and register. After registration you will be moved to the vaccination area where a flu shot will be administered by a nursing professional from the health department. After the shot has been given, you will be directed towards an exit in an orderly manner at which point you will be free to go home. The health department hopes this entire process will take less than (10) ten minutes per person and they will make the experience as positive as possible.

The past couple of years North Central District Health Department has sponsored this type of exercise in Shelby and Spencer Counties where they not only used their personnel but acquired the flu vaccine to be used in the events. Shelby County was the site for the first SNS (Strategic National Stockpile) exercise that the North Central District Health Department was fully involved in. With a moderate crowd in attendance the entire day went smoothly and by adding in a few injections of drama (staged events to assist in the training of health department personnel) the training was determined to be a success. Having the experience of the Shelby County event, the Spencer County exercise seemed to flow in the same positive direction as the Shelby event. The positive and negative feed-back from the community and staff on both events has helped the health department develop a superior plan of action for the Trimble County SNS exercise that will be held on October 8.

The North Central District Health Department has always strived to be on the leading edge of community protection and education, and to assist the citizens of the counties they serve through better health. It is now time for the community to assist the health department by attending this event on October 8 at 9 a.m. to receive your free flu shot and allowing the North Central District Health Department to better serve your communities.