People hoping to get their seasonal flu shots started lining up at 6 a.m. today at College of the Canyons for its annual drive-thru flu shot clinic. Aside from a few traffic snags with the number of people eager to roll up their sleeves, things went pretty smoothly.
"From an overall view, it was a wild success," said John McElwaine, COC spokesman. "As of 12:30, we had 1,562 people who were in 891 cars that came through and we dispensed 1,355 adult shots, 31 pediatric shots and 19 nasal spray shots."
He said the numbers would go up as final statistics were compiled, but estimated that the overall amount of vaccines administered would end up around 1,400.
Clinic organizers, which included nursing students at the college, instructors and college administrators, started setting up at 6 a.m. and found one car with people already waiting for their shot, even though the clinic was not scheduled to open until 10 a.m.
"By the time 8 o'clock rolled around, we had 100 cars; by 9 o'clock, we had several hundred cars waiting," McElwaine said. "Once the serum was delivered by county health and we were able to verify those counts, we opened, due to the pressure of the public who wanted the shots. We had an extra hour and we needed every one of those minutes."
He said that the volume was much higher than the last three years, causing them to be creative with traffic control. Sheriff's deputies stepped in and re-routed some of the cars, taking the bottleneck off of Valencia Boulevard and accommodating all those waiting for their vaccines.
"At one point, when we opened, the average wait was one hour," McElwaine explained. "By the end, we had it down to less than 22 minutes."
Asked if a similar clinic would be set up once the H1N1 vaccine becomes available from the county, McElwaine said they did not have any information.
"County health is still looking at where and when and under what format they will be holding the H1N1 clinics and have not discussed it with us yet," he said. "Right now, we have no H1N1 clinic planned at the college, but I know there will be some in the valley before the end of November."
Overall, he said the crews who worked the clinic were satisfied with their day's work.
"It's a good thing all the way around," he said. "The public was happy, we were pleased with what we learned and how many people we got trained, it was a win-win all around."