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Hundreds line up for flu shots

Posted: Friday, Nov 13th, 2009

The Brookings High auxiliary gym was the setting Thursday for the community?s first ?mass vaccination? for the H1N1 flu strain. Long lines snaked through the high school halls, but 16 vaccination stations, each with a team of two vaccinators, record-keepers and assistants, kept people moving. Co-sponsored by Avera and Sanford health systems and the South Dakota Department of Health, the event was staffed by local health care workers as well as volunteers from Sioux Falls. More than 1,600 free vaccinations were given during the three-hour clinic, and no one was turned away. A second clinic will be held Nov. 18. Ken Curley/Register

They're still working on a final head count, but state and local health officials vaccinated an estimated 1,600 area residents Thursday evening during an HINI flu vaccination clinic at Brookings High School.

The clinic was scheduled from 6-9 p.m., but people were already lining the halls of the school as early as 3:30 p.m. The high school gym was filled with 16 stations, with two people at each dispensing vaccinations.

Organizing the clinic was the South Dakota Department of Health, in cooperation with Sanford Health and Avera Health. Co-chairs for the local event were Pat Waligoske of the Avera Brookings Medical Clinic and Cindy Mydland of Sanford Clinic-Brookings .

Mydland said everyone who showed up at the clinic and was eligible for an H1N1 vaccination received one. No one who met the Department of Health's Tier 1 and 2 guidelines was turned away.

Another vaccination clinic is planned for next Wednesday, Nov. 18, from 2-7 p.m., at Brookings High School. City schools are dismissing early at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday to accommodate the vaccination clinic.

School officials in their notifi cation to parents said both H1N1 and seasonal flu shots would be available at the second clinic.

Mydland said community organizations, including the Brookings Health System, will run next week's vaccination effort.

Next week's event will also distribute H1N1 vaccinations to those who fall into Tier 1 and 2 categories, which include all children up to 18 years; young adults 19-24 ; adults from 25 to 64 with chronic health conditions ; pregnant women; caregivers of children less than 6 months of age; and emergency medical services workers (employees from these fields must bring their employee ID badge).

Individuals under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

H1N1 vaccination is completely voluntary, and there is no charge for the vaccination. It is recommended by the CDC that an individual who previously suffered from a suspected case of H1N1 without a lab confirmation should still receive the H1N1 vaccine .

Mydland said those who plan on being vaccinated next week will also be able to fill out their information and health screening form ahead of time. The form will soon be posted to the local Web site, www.BeReadyBrookings.com, so people can print it and fill it out at home and bring it to the high school gymnasium to speed up lines

Contact Jill Fier at jfier@brookingsregister .com.

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