County Uses Flu Shots in Anti-Bioterrorism Trials; Nassau: Vaccine Clinic to Test System

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Byline: Alison Trinidad, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

About 300 Nassau County residents will get flu shots Wednesday. And health officials wil try to do them in record time.

Combining one need with another, health workers will use the flu shots to test an anti-bioterrorism protocol. To meet with success, they'll have to administer the shots in 90 minutes.

Bioterrorism is the use of biological agents, such as disease or agricultural pests, to cause mass disruption.

County health and emergency service agencies have been preparing to meet bioterrorism challenges the past few months.

"We've never done anything like this before," county epidemiology nurse Kim Geib said. "It's timely, with the beginning of flu season."

In addition to a first aid station, members of the health department, school district and emergency medical services will be on hand from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Yulee Middle School cafeteria to simulate an emergency disaster and administer the flu shots. Each shot will cost $12, which the patient can bill to Medicare Part B with a copy of his Medicare Card.

City and county representatives have been meeting since August to begin creating an emergency response plan to bioterrorism. That plan, of which mass immunization is one facet, will help public officials know how to deal with an epidemic caused by terrorism.

Geib said the flu shot clinic also is an effort to get more people vaccinated for the flu this year. …