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UPDATED: Drive-through flu shots at COC 'til 2 p.m.

Free to residents six months or older

Posted: October 7, 2008 11:39 a.m.
Updated: November 7, 2008 10:00 a.m.

A driver receives a free flu shot during last year's drive-through clinic at College of the Canyons. The average time going through the queue was less than 10 minutes.

 
Santa Clarita Valley residents can get flu shots today at no charge, and without getting out of their cars.

For the third year, College of the Canyons hosts a drive-through flu shot clinic at the college's Valencia campus, joining forces with the city of Santa Clarita, the L.A. Department of Public Health and the L.A. County Sheriff and Fire Departments.

Shots will be dispensed from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. -- or until the supply of serum is used up -- in the COC parking lots adjacent to Valencia Boulevard.

Flu shots are often provided to the public in anticipation of an active flu season but the event also serves a secondary purpose. 

Today's clinic will test the Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI) response during a bioterrorism attack.

The CRI plan is designed to treat a large number of affected or infected people with medications within a short time. Under the plan, the drive-through clinic is called a rapid point of dispensing, or POD. College of the Canyons is a designated POD site for the bioterrorism plan.

"Over the past two years, we have been able to train dozens of volunteers and staff members regarding the safe and efficient dispensing of medicine on a large scale," said Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar in a statement. "We have refined our logistics, our delivery systems and have improved dramatically in our communications capabilities, which is the main point of this activity."

"There are always things to learn and ways to improve our procedures," Dr. Michael Wilding, assistant superintendent/vice president of the college as well as the POD manager for the second straight year, said in the statement.

"The college is conveniently located and has the parking lot layout to easily handle a large volume of cars in a real emergency, and with nursing students gaining valuable experience by dispensing the shots, the college brings a number of important elements to the table," Wilding said.

The student nurses are closely monitored by their instructors to insure the shots are properly and safely dispensed.

Planning and implementing the clinic fosters cooperation and communication between agencies that otherwise don't often work together, Wilding added.

"They need to be able to coordinate their response in the event of a national emergency," he said.

In the event of a large outbreak of disease or a regional terrorist attack, many sites similar to this one in Santa Clarita would be needed to serve the needs of California communities.

According to public health officials, the 2006 and 2007 flu-shot clinics at COC were two of the best in California.

More than 120 volunteers from the participating agencies helped coordinate last year’s clinic, when more than 1,000 people received the free shots during a three-hour period, compared to 800 the first year.

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