Flu vaccinations for SLO County employees administered Wednesday

County health officials will conduct mass flu vaccinations today in a test of the county’s ability to handle a significant public health emergency.

The vaccinations will be held from 7 to 10 a.m. and again from 3 to 7 p.m. at four locations in the county. Emergency responders, county employees, seniors and those with pre-existing medical conditions will be eligible for vaccination against the seasonal influenza.

The vaccination sites are the fire departments in Grover Beach and Morro Bay, the Elks Lodge in San Luis Obispo and the Paso Robles Veterans Memorial Building. A total of 2,000 doses are available, said Michelle Shoresman, county health department spokeswoman.

Seniors over the age of 60 and those with pre-existing conditions will be able to get vaccinated at the Grover Beach, Morro Bay and Paso Robles locations, but not in San Luis Obispo. This is because most county employees are expected to be vaccinated in San Luis Obispo, Shoresman said.

County health officials made the pool of people eligible for the vaccination large in an effort to vaccinate those at high flu risk as early in the season as possible. Vaccines for the H1N1 or swine flu variety are expected to be available by the end of October.

Once those arrive, people considered at highest risk will be the first to be vaccinated, Shoresman said. These include pregnant women, health care workers with direct patient contact, adults who take care of infants less than six months old and people age six months to 24 years.

Vaccinating a large number of people also tests the ability of county health officials to rapidly administer many vaccines to emergency responders.

“This will allow us to be better prepared to care for our communities in a public health disaster,” Shoresman said.

The general public can get flu vaccinations at county public health offices and at clinics scheduled for Oct. 7 in Cambria and Templeton. For more information, call 781-5500.

Reach David Sneed at 781-7930.