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County conducts record-setting flu vaccine clinic

November 5, 2005

The Hood River County Health Department gave a record number of flu shots on Wednesday at an eight-hour clinic.

Ellen Larsen, health department director, said 765 doses were given out on that day – about one-third of the annual yearly average.

“This is the largest one-time clinic Hood River County has ever done,” she said.

The clinic at the Expo Center also included an exercise to prepare officials for a major disease outbreak. The exercise was conducted in cooperation with the Oregon Department of Human Services. It focused on the detection of an infectious illness, the process for requesting federal resources, and how state and local authorities would receive and deploy antibiotics.

Kulongoski has urged all state health organizations to make sure they are ready to respond to any type of broad-scale medical emergency, from influenza to the plague and anthrax.

Larsen coordinated the activity with local government officials, law enforcement authorities, and other medical professionals. She estimated that about 200 people could be treated per hour under current procedures. She said, during an emergency, a clinic would operate 24 hours per day until the entire population had been inoculated.

The scenario played out during the exercise involved three deaths in the county from pneumonic plague and the hospitalization of 10 victims. Orders were placed for a stockpile of antibiotics and an investigation was launched to find the source of the disease.

Evaluators were on hand to assess the success of the state’s response plan. A full assessment of the exercises held across Oregon will provide feedback for improvements.

“In a real emergency the Health Department would do education and medication,” said Larsen.

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