Health agents plan all-Island seasonal flu clinic
Island health agents will sponsor an Island-wide seasonal flu immunization clinic that will also serve as a training exercise for public safety personnel from 8 am to noon on Wednesday, November 11.
The seasonal flu vaccine will be distributed at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School. Participants arriving by vehicle will first need to go to one of two vehicle staging areas located at Dennis Alley (formerly Waban) Park in Oak Bluffs and the Ag Hall in West Tisbury to register.
Ron MacLaren, Wampanoag Health Director and one of the coordinators of the clinic, said the only difference from last year is that prior to going to the high school people have to go to staging areas.
Mr. MacLaren said part of the reason for creating staging areas is to meet emergency preparedness planning requirements for the state and federal governments.
"We realize it's somewhat of an inconvenience, but if we should have something that's a worst-case scenario, it will help us to see what we are doing wrong, what are we doing right, and in the case of a real big issue, have all that worked out ahead of time," he said.
The staging areas will open at 7 am. Residents do not have to get out of their cars.
Clinic personnel will be there to check three screening forms (Screening Questionnaire, Vaccine Administration Record, Tier Group Screening Form), which should be filled out ahead of time, Mr. MacLaren said. Blank forms, clipboards, and pens will be available.
Screening forms are available at local town halls, pharmacies, libraries, senior centers and online at www.dukescounty.org.
The next step will be to advance to a waiting lane where police will control the release of vehicles.
Drivers will be issued a pass to get into the high school parking area. Vaccinations will be administered inside in the gym and outside as part of a drive-through lane.
Mr. MacLaren said the goal is to get the vaccinations done in the most expeditious manner. "There will be some volume control tweaks to keep the flow steady at all points," he said.
People who live within walking distance, or who bicycle or take the bus, do not have to go to the staging areas, Mr. MacLaren said. "They can walk right into the high school, but they will still need their forms.
"There was a rumor that everybody at the staging area would have to park his or her car and take a bus in," Mr. MacLaren said. "That is not true."
This clinic will only provide vaccine for adults 18 years or older. People 50 years of age or older; adults under age 50 with a chronic medical condition being treated by a physician; those who will be pregnant during the flu season; or healthcare workers or a first responders with direct patient contact are advised to get the vaccine.
This clinic will not provide H1N1 "Swine Flu" vaccine.