Health officials prepare for disaster while fighting flu

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SAVANNAH, Tenn. — Savannah residents lined up in a church parking lot Thursday to resist becoming victim to the flu. “We bring the folks in through a controlled area. We make sure they’re not allergic to any of the medications we’re providing or have allergies that we need to be concerned with,” Kevin Morris with the Tennessee Department of Health said. The department sets up mass vaccination centers, including Thursday’s drive-thru clinic, to benefit the local community each year. “This was a lot different because I’m used to going in to the doctor’s office, making an appointment, just to wait for a shot. This was quick and easy,” resident Kimberly Pinson said. The focus for first responders is to prepare for an emergency. Officials and volunteers come together for the clinic, including some students. “We didn’t know what to expect, but I really enjoyed doing it,” Hardin County High School student Taylor Pickens said. From the time participants pull in to the time they leave the parking lot, volunteers assist the entire way through. “We ask medical questions to the people in the cars and ask if they’ve had any allergies to the flu vaccine or anything like that,” student April Holland said. After administering 140 vaccinations in less than two hours, health officials call it a success. They also have a message for those hesitant of the shot. “We’re starting to see flu cases already, and flu can potentially be a deadly illness. It’s very important everyone get the flu vaccine as quickly as possible,” Morris said. The other two stops this year will be in Tipton and Fayette counties. The Fayette County setup will be held Oct. 16 at Fayette Academy. Tipton County’s vaccination will be held Nov. 10 at Cobb-Parr Memorial Park.

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