Drive-through flu shots available on Thursday

LAWRENCEVILLE - Flu season is already upon us and health agencies are readying themselves and the public with flu vaccinations.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccine manufacturers estimate that as many as 143 million to 146 million doses of the flu vaccine will be produced for the United States this flu season, and several manufacturers began shipping the vaccine in August.

As part of CDC emergency preparedness requirements, the East Metro Health District will conduct an exercise Thursday, offering 1,000 free flu shots to the public at Pinckneyville Park in Norcross. Adults who want to get a shot must be in or on a road-legal vehicle, which can include vans, buses, cars, trucks, motorcycles, scooters and bicycles, and those who wish to receive a shot must remain in or on the vehicle. The shots will be administered at the baseball/softball complex on a first-come, first-served basis.

"For vaccinations, we would do a drive-through if there was an emergency," said Vernon Goins, spokesman for the East Metro Health District, "so this is a test of our capabilities to dispense vaccinations to a very large population quickly."

The department will attempt to administer the vaccine to 1,000 people over the course of three hours.

"We know that there might be a biological emergency that we may have to dispense vaccine, such as pandemic flu," Goins said. "This is the way we learn. It is a full-scale exercise."

The department will be working with county police, fire and emergency management to coordinate the vaccine distributions.

"We hope to learn a lot from it," Goins said. "Of course, we're giving out free flu shots, and we hope that those people who are older and any other vulnerable populations will be the first ones to come."

SideBar: If You Go

What: Drive-through flu shots

When: 9 a.m. to noon or until supplies are exhausted Thursday

Where: Pinckneyville Park, 4758 S. Old Peachtree Road, Norcross

Cost: Free

For more information: Call 770-339-4260 or visit www.gwinnetthealth.com