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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 29, 2010
Walk-Through Flu Shots Administered at College of the Canyons
College of the Canyons nursing students along with nurses from L.A. County Public Health Department and nursing faculty and staff from the college helped administer more than 1,000 flu shots to local residents during the flu-immunization Point of Dispensing (POD), held Friday Oct. 29, on the college’s Valencia campus.
The annual flu-immunization POD is a joint effort on the part of the college, the L.A. County Department of Public Health, the City of Santa Clarita and the L.A. County Sheriff and Fire Departments. The annual event also serves as a test of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI) response, which would be dispatched in the event of a pandemic or bio-terrorism attack.
This is the fifth consecutive year that the college has hosted a flu shot event. However this year organizers decided to adopt a walk-through model, as opposed to the traditional drive-thru process used in the past.
Beginning at approximately 10 a.m., free flu-vaccines were dispensed to community members who had gathered outside of the college’s East Physical Education building in anticipation of the event. The wait for shots ranged from more than an hour for those who arrived near the 10 a.m. start time to just a few minutes for those who arrived after 12:30 p.m.
During the course of the 4-hour event, flu vaccines were administered to 1,015 people. Of those, 278 were of the nasal variety and 13 were pediatric vaccinations.
A number of tetanus, toxoid-diptheria-accellular pertussis (Tdap) and pneumonia shots were also distributed during the event, bringing the total number of shots administered to 1,518. Tdap is the vaccination for the condition more commonly known as whooping cough.
While the drive-thru flu shot concept proved to be very successful in years past, the main reason the vaccine is administered is to test the CRI response and help prepare for the community’s response to a potential pandemic. The purpose of the CRI plan is to treat an impacted, mass population with medications within a short time period.
Under the plan, communities are challenged to develop a variety of models through which vaccines can be distributed to mass populations. These “points of dispensing” or PODs can take many forms, including both the drive-thru and walk-through models.
According to public health officials, over the last four years the Santa Clarita flu PODs held at COC have ranked among the best in all of California.
However, organizers decided to go with a “walk-through” model at this year’s event in order to perfect that particular distribution system. In the case of an actual emergency, it is likely that both models would be utilized in an effort to inoculate as many people as possible, in the shortest amount of time.
Although the majority of patients received their shot via the walk-through model, drive-up accommodations were made available for disabled community members.
In all, approximately 150 volunteers from the participating agencies took part in the POD exercise.
“It is amazing how creative and dedicated all of the volunteers were in making sure this event ran smoothly. I am impressed with how much we learned this year, which makes this event even more useful,” said Michael Joslin, the college’s dean of student services as well as the POD incident commander for the second consecutive year.
“The planning and implementation of the flu POD fosters cooperation and communication between agencies that otherwise don’t often work together,” stressed Joslin, “but who need to be able to coordinate their responses in the event of a large-scale emergency.”