Tuesday November 4, 2008

Napa County Public Health and the City of Napa need adults age 18 years and older to participate as patients during a mass vaccination exercise from 11:30am to 2:00pm on Friday, November 7 at the Napa Valley College Gymnasium.  The purpose of the drill is to test the readiness of local government and volunteers to administer flu vaccine to a large number of people over a short time period.  Not only will participants help the County and City prepare for an emergency, such as a pandemic influenza or anthrax attack, they will receive this season’s flu shot FREE.

At the Mass Vaccination Drill organizers hope to administer this season’s flu vaccine to as many adults 18 years and older as possible within a few hours.  While Public Health Officials want to emphasize that this is a drill and not an actual emergency, they also want people to know that the influenza vaccine being administered is real.

“Public health preparedness for emergencies is critical to respond to the health impacts of natural disasters, potential risks posed by new infectious diseases threats such as pandemic flu, or a bioterrorism event,” states Dr. Karen Smith, Napa County Public Health Officer.  “Preparedness is an on-going process that involves continual training and practice.  This drill offers a vital opportunity for Napa County Public Health staff in conjunction with the City of Napa to practice for a real emergency and offers the public another chance to protect themselves from the flu this year.”

Getting the flu vaccine is the single best way to protect against influenza.  The flu is a contagious respiratory viral illness that can cause mild to severe illness and sometimes death.  Each vaccine contains three inactivated (killed) influenza viruses that scientists estimate will be the types circulating in the current flu season.  Because the viruses in the flu shot are inactivated, people cannot get the flu from a flu shot according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By vaccinating a large number of people in a short period of time in this drill will test the County & City’s ability to screen individuals, handle large crowds and successfully administer this year’s seasonal flu vaccine in a short period of time.  This practice drill is important because, in the event of an outbreak of a serious communicable disease, Napa County Public Health professionals could be called upon to vaccinate all residents within 48 hours.

Parking for the mass vaccination exercise is FREE.  The VINE buses 5 and 10 have stops at the Napa Valley College, call (707) 251-2800 or visit http://www.nctpa.net/vine.cfm for bus schedules.

People who want to receive a free flu shot and be a participant in the drill must be 18 years of age or older.  The Mass Vaccination Drill will take place at:

Napa Valley College Gymnasium
2277 Napa Vallejo Highway, Napa

Friday, November 7, 2008
11:30AM to 2:00PM

Children younger than 18 years of age will not be given flu vaccine at these clinics. All high risk children and healthy children aged 6 months to 18 years and their household contacts should be vaccinated against influenza.  If you would like your child to receive a flu vaccine, please call your child’s health care provider, or call the Public Health Immunization Clinic at 253-4270 for an appointment.

If you would like additional information, please visit Napa County Public Health’s site at www.co.napa.ca.us or the CDC Web site at http://www.cdc.gov.