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County administers 900 free flu shots in emergency response plan exercise

Free, drive-through flu vaccines caused a traffic nightmare on Country Club Road and S.R. 337 in Corydon last Wednesday morning. But despite the snarl, health-care officials deemed the event a success.
Sherry and Harold Gilley of Palmyra were the first in line at Wednesday’s affair. They got in line in front of Corydon Central High School at 8 a.m.
‘We just wanted to be the first to make sure we got a vaccine,’ Sherry Gilley said.
Traffic quickly backed up along Country Club Road and eventually officers from the Corydon Police Dept. and Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept. set up a staging area in the Corydon Intermediate School parking lot.
Grants from the Harrison County Community Foundation and the Health Resource and Services Administration of the Indiana State Dept. of Health helped allow Harrison County Hospital and the Harrison County Health Dept. to offer the vaccines free this year, on one day only, as part of an exercise of the county’s Emergency Response Plan.
‘I thought things went excellent, especially for our first time. There were small glitches here or there, but overall I thought it was a great thing,’ said Tony Combs of the health department.
The snafus included the traffic jam, canopies nearly being blown over by the blustery winds and inadequate staffing.
‘We tried sandbags on the canopies but that really didn’t help a whole lot. We’ll have to rethink how we set those up. Also, we might need more protection for people giving the shots and doing the paperwork,’ Combs said, noting the somewhat chilly temperatures. ‘We could probably have a few extra people out there so workers could have some breaks. As for the traffic, we really didn’t expect that.’
Several evaluation sheets were completed by the public, with most listing positive remarks.
‘I’m sure there are people at the beginning who had to deal with the wait that weren’t happy, but other than that, everyone seems to have had a positive experience,’ said Combs.
The flu vaccines were available from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.; however, the final shot was given at about 1:50. By then, traffic was down to a trickle.
‘After that first rush, the traffic wasn’t bad,’ Combs said.
The clinic was modeled on a flu shot clinic in Louisville that was held on the grounds of the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center.
‘Obviously, they have a lot more area to work with and a lot more patients than what we had. But again, I think things went well,’ Combs added. ‘A lot of thanks go to Jeanine Fonda and Debbie Gibson since they did a lot of the work for the clinic, the Harrison County Hospital EMS and everyone else with the hospital that was involved. It really was a joint effort and everyone came together and did good.’