Worth County Oct. 4 disaster drill/flu shot clinic will also feature blood drive
SYLVESTER—On Oct. 4 from 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., emergency responders and community partners will hone their skills and test their preparedness at the eighth annual Worth Community Disaster Drill and Drive-Through Flu Shot Clinic at the Worth County Agricultural Pavilion. This year, the OneBlood Bloodmobile will be on-site accepting blood donations. Participants don’t have to receive a flu shot to donate blood.
Around 20 community agencies – the same ones that respond in the event of a disaster – put together the annual event, said Worth County Health Department Nurse Manager Gina Connell, one of the architects of the disaster drill/drive-through flu clinic.
“The event is important because it helps the community’s first responders prepare, lets agencies test emergency plans and additionally gives residents a chance to get vaccinated against flu without the inconvenience of leaving their vehicles,” Connell said. It takes an average of six minutes to drive through the flu clinic.
“We do this because in a real disaster, we would have to take care of our own county and our own community for at least the first 24 to 48 hours before help from other counties or agencies could arrive,” she said.
Southwest Health District Emergency Preparedness Director Julie Miller said Worth County is a model community in the state when it comes to disaster preparedness.
“Worth County is ahead of the curve of many communities because this yearly combination disaster drill and drive-through flu clinic allows the community to become educated about how to work together during a crisis – before the crisis occurs. The first responders work together like a well-oiled machine, and that is a testament to their dedication and the many hours of training and planning they put in.”
First responders and partner agencies are comfortable talking to each other and to the public, Miller said. “We saw first-hand how it paid off when the storm hit in January. Worth County’s response team pulled together quickly and professionally.”
The event site, located at the corner of Highway 313 and Rebecca Drive (next to the Worth County Public Works Office), was selected based on the ability to safely and easily manage the flow of traffic, explained Connell. Forms are provided to residents beforehand to be filled out prior to arriving at the clinic site.
“Of course, for those who don’t have forms, forget them, or need help filling them out, we have clinic helpers there to assist,” Connell said.
Only influenza shots are provided during the drive-through clinic. They are $30 per person. The health department accepts cash, checks, Medicaid, Medicare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Aetna, Cigna, and Coventry United HealthCare (State Health Benefit Plan only).
The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone six months and older get vaccinated against seasonal influenza each year.
For more information about the drive-through clinic, call 229-777-2150.