Free flu shots offered by county health officials on Sunday

The public can receive free flu shots at two locations Sunday as part of a mass vaccination drill conducted by the county health agency.

The shots will be available to anyone two years or older from 1 to 4 p.m. at the South County Regional Center in Arroyo Grande and Colony Park Community Center in Atascadero. Health officials hope to vaccinate 2,000 people during the event.

The purpose of the drill is to prepare county and city employees to administer vaccinations rapidly in the event of a significant public health threat. It promises to be the county’s biggest single-day clinics ever and will involve more than 100 city and county employees.

“Exercises like this help us prepare for pandemics and other biological threats to the public’s health,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, county health officer. “We practice so that we’re ready to vaccinate the entire population of the county as quickly as possible.”

This year’s flu vaccine includes protection from H1N1, H3N2 and influenza B. Flumist, a nasal spray vaccine, will be available at both locations on a first-come, first-served basis.