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Nearly 700 receive flu shots

November 17, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

KEARNEYSVILLE, W.VA. - Bill Dodson arrived at the Jefferson County Health Department at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday and saw cars lining both sides of the road leading to the building.

Although he needed a flu shot, Dodson said his emphysema prevents him from standing for too long. He returned six hours later, when he found there were only a few people in the waiting room, a handful of cars in the parking lot and no line.

Dodson was one of nearly 700 people who received flu shots during a daylong flu shot clinic. An overnight shipment of 690 extra vaccines from the state Bureau for Public Health has enabled the county's health department to schedule another clinic for Nov. 29, beginning at 9:30 a.m., office assistant Jennifer Owens said.

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For some, Tuesday's clinic was their only chance to be vaccinated.

Owens said people were waiting outside the health department when she arrived for work at 7:30 a.m.

Officers with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department and West Virginia State Police helped direct traffic. Those who could not leave their cars or were in an ambulance were vaccinated in the parking lot, Owens said.

Efforts also were made to keep everybody warm, Owens said.

Originally, only 150 vaccines were to be administered. Another 400 were set aside for a clinic open only to health-care workers, but only 170 people came, said Lisa Dunn, the health department's sanitation supervisor.

The extra vaccines, combined with those shipped overnight from the state, allowed far more flu shots to be given than first expected, Dunn said.

Only certain people can receive a flu shot. They must have proof they are 65 years old or older, or must have a doctor's note indicating they have a chronic illness and need the shot.

Shots also were given to children 6 months to 2 years old, Dunn said.

Dodson, 63, who had a doctor's note tucked into one of his pockets, first tried to receive a flu shot from his family physician.

"I went to my doctor way back in September and she said, 'Bill we don't have any,'" Dodson said. A month later he heard the same thing and only recently was told of the clinic.

Jacqueline Calkins received her shot in the morning and then returned in the afternoon, bringing her neighbor so she, too, could be vaccinated.

Calkins is 79 years old and a diabetic.

"Between the two, I felt a lot happier having a flu shot," Calkins said.

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