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UT Medical Center runs flu vaccination drill - Influenza Surge Vaccination Exercise

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  • UT Medical Center runs flu vaccination drill - Influenza Surge Vaccination Exercise

    http://www.volunteertv.com/news/headlines/58740492.html

    Updated: 3:51 AM Sep 11, 2009
    UT Medical Center runs flu vaccination drill
    The University of Tennessee Medical Center wants to know how quickly it can vaccinate workers in case of a health emergency.

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The University of Tennessee Medical Center wants to know how quickly it can vaccinate workers in case of a health emergency.

    The hospital's running a drill to prepare for a wide-spread, deadly outbreak.

    "What we're doing is just practicing being able to give a lot of medicine in a hurry," Incident Commander Debbie Barton said. "Every year we have to have annual exercises."

    This time, it was based on concerns surrounding the seasonal flu and H1N1. It's called the "Influenza Surge Vaccination Exercise."

    "The scenario is in a nutshell is there has been an outbreak of flu that's proven fatal in some areas, and it's headed for Tennessee," Barton said.

    Past drills have involved simulated a mass influx of patients and utility outages.

    But with interests and fevers rising with H-1-N-1 this year, the UT Medical Center exercise focused on a flu strain drill.

    "That was just the scenario we used. Basically because H1N1 started out that way and seasonal flu and other diseases my spread in that manner," Disaster Coordinator Janet Rowe-Eickenberry said.

    The six-day scenario is based on a similar one performed at the University of Iowa Medical Center. (http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/526434)

    Volunteers will work to vaccinate 70 percent of UT Medical's staff by next week. That's about 2,200 hundred employees getting an actual seasonal flu shot.

    "We have to take care of the public. We're out in the public. You don't want a sick nurse taking care of your family member," Barton said.

    Already in its second day, about 50 percent of workers have gotten vaccinated.

    "I'm really happy and I think it's gone really well. And I think it's going to be a good exercise," Rowe-Eickenberry said.

    Barton said the only real problem was initially distributing the vaccine to multiple locations, but those kinks have been worked out.

    The drill runs through next Tuesday; however, Barton expects to reach the goal vaccinations before that.

    Workers say they have no way of knowing when or even if they'll have to use to plan in reality.
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