The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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November 2, 2009

Free flu shot clinic tests pandemic preparedness

LORETTO — Janet Miller was concerned that her family doctor ran out of seasonal flu vaccine before she could bring in her

84-year-old father, Earl Miller of Lilly.

So when she saw an announcement of Cambria County Emergency Management’s free flu shot clinic in Saturday’s edition of The Tribune-Democrat, she made plans to get her father to St. Francis University on Monday.

Earl Miller was among a few dozen who arrived during the first hour of a free public flu shot clinic, sponsored to demonstrate the county’s pandemic vaccine distribution plans, Emergency Management Director Ron Springer said during the event.

“We think we answered a lot of questions and concerns,” Springer said.

Although early turnout at the afternoon’s public event was slow, more than 700 students and employees from St. Francis University and Mount Aloysius College received vaccine during a morning clinic targeting those groups, Springer said. By the end of the day, 1,219 people had received flu shots.

About 60 volunteers included students from the schools’ nursing and physician assistant programs and retired health-care workers in the county’s medical reserve corps. Representatives of the state Health Department and Keystone Chapter American Red Cross were on hand.

The seasonal flu shot clinic was originally planned for

Oct. 27, with a second public event in Johnstown on Monday.

Both clinics were postponed because flu vaccine was delayed, Springer said. The Johnstown clinic will be rescheduled later this month, as soon as vaccine supplies arrive.

Both events are trial runs for the H1N1 flu vaccine distribution, set to begin with in-school clinics across the county within the next few weeks, Springer said.

“The training aspect is going very well,” Springer said. “We got to prove what we wanted to prove. We had more than 700 in five hours, and we could have handled easily double that.”

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