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Bob Kellar: Drive-through flu shot clinic provides inoculation and training

Live From City Hall

Posted: October 22, 2009 9:35 p.m.
Updated: October 23, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Flu shots are an important preventative measure toward providing vital and potentially life-saving protection against illness. In light of current events, including a rise in the number of flu virus cases, this fall is perhaps one of the most important times to take advantage of the protection flu shots can provide.

To assist residents in preparing for the upcoming flu season, the city of Santa Clarita, along with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, College of the Canyons and the county Sheriff and Fire departments will host the 4th annual Drive-Thru Flu Shot Clinic.

Held at COC, the clinic will provide free, drive-through flu shots to community members on Oct. 30 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., or until supplies are depleted.

Although it is typically argued that seniors and children are best suited to receive influenza vaccinations, recent scientific discoveries show that societies benefit as a whole when the entire population is vaccinated and antiviral medications are distributed to those who do fall ill.

According to public health officials, the Santa Clarita flu clinics over the last three years have ranked among the best in California.

More than 120 volunteers from participating agencies help coordinate the event each year, and it is anticipated that more than 1,000 shots will be administered at the 2009 clinic.

In addition helping to inoculate community members against the seasonal flu, the drive-through clinic will once again serve a secondary purpose. It will test the city's Readiness Initiative response during a hypothetical bioterrorism attack to help prepare the community's response to potential pandemics.

The plan is designed to treat an impacted, mass population with medications within a short time period. Under the plan, the Drive-Thru clinic would be referred to as a "rapid point of dispensing," or POD. College of the Canyons is a designated POD site, allowing people to remain in their cars while being inoculated to help minimize the potential spread of infection. The college's convenient location near freeways and major arteries also allows large numbers of people to be efficiently inoculated.

The Drive-Thru Flu Shot Clinic will also help to train volunteers in the organizational structure of the POD and learn the responsibilities of various key positions. College of the Canyons nursing students will administer most of the shots, and students from the EMT program will play an important part in the screening process before shots are administered.

The event will only feature inoculations against the seasonal flu, and walk-up shots will not be administered.

The Drive-Thru Flu Shot Clinic will serve as a vital training exercise to better prepare the city for a crisis, while helping bolster the community's resilience to the flu virus. The collaborative training opportunity demonstrates how the city of Santa Clarita and its partners continually work to enhance response efforts for all types of emergencies.

College of the Canyons is located at 26455 Rockwell Canyon Rd. For more information about the free drive-through flu shot clinic, please contact the city's Community Services Division at (661) 250-3708. Car-pooling to COC for the clinic is encouraged, along with patience.

Bob Kellar is a Santa Clarita City Council member. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Live From City Hall" appears Fridays in The Signal.

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