Before the first flu shot was even shot, borough emergency managers received a lesson in pandemic preparedness.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management planned to stage a mass immunization event this Thursday using flu vaccines to simulate a worldwide influenza outbreak.
Vaccine manufacturers, however, are distributing this year’s vaccine in waves, rather than all at once, the OEM learned, so the event has to be pushed back to Nov. 17 until sufficient quantities of the vaccine are delivered.
Also, because the Kenai Mall, which was to be one of the sites used for the mass immunization, will not be available Nov. 17, the Kenai site must be moved, according to Glenda Landua, Citizens Corps Program coordinator for the OEM.
As of Monday, the plan is to give free flu shots to Kenai Peninsula residents on Nov. 17, at the Kenai Army National Guard Armory on Forest Drive from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and at a drive-through station in the Soldotna Sports Center parking lot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The flu shots are free.
“The vaccine is being doled out ... it’s coming in waves,” Landua said. “We wanted to be sure there would be enough for the event.”
The OEM wants as many people as possible to come for their flu shot on the one day, in order to mimic what might happen should a worldwide pandemic occur.
The mass flu vaccination event is being conducted as a preparedness exercise.
At the sports center, motorists will be met by OEM workers at tents set up in the parking lot, and after filling out a brief registration form, will be given their flu shots without being required to get out of their vehicles.
Shots will be given to all occupants of vehicles who want them, but pediatric doses will not be available at the drive-through, Landua said.
Medics from Central Emergency Services and other volunteer medical staff members will be standing by should they be needed, Landua said.
Phil Hermanek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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