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Hundreds welcome flu vaccine

"Paul Furman takes his flu shot medicine like a man from Line Goulet, a registered nurse at Whidbey General Hospital.Jim Larsen/staff photosUpcoming clinicsThe Island County Health Department's next flu shot clinic on South Whidbey is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland. In Coupeville, there will be a clinic Tuesday, Nov. 28 from 10-1 at the Recreation Hall. Call the Health Department at 321-5111 for information.The first shipment of public flu vaccine to South Whidbey was appreciated even though it was delayed for several weeks.Over 100 people were lined up Friday morning at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when the flu shot clinic opened at 10 a.m., and they kept coming until all 300 doses were administered. The church parking lot was full, with excess cars scattered along the shoulders of Maxwelton Road. The building's foyer and hallways were jam packed with senior citizens waiting to enter a large community room where Health Department workers and volunteers were waiting.Louise Hergert, 92, was near the head of the line. A recent arrival to the island, the flu shot experience was nothing new. This is my first one here but I've had a hundred of them, she said.Those in line all qualified for senior citizenship. I've never seen so many old people, laughed Martin Schmidt. And they are us. Older people are considered high risk if stricken by the flu and it was obvious Friday that few want to take their chances with the disease.Edward Marks, a volunteer who lives in Sandy Hook, was impressed by the big turnout. The news media got people alerted, he said. There were 100 people when we opened the door. I bet we get the full 300 and that's a good thing.Although the line getting in looked formidable, the vaccination program was well organized and took care of people quickly. People were sent to the appropriate table for insurance information, and then chose one of three stations where they could get a shot from a registered nurse. It was over in just seconds.The Health Department's first flu shot clinic was held in Coupeville on Monday where there were reports of people pushing and shoving to get in line for a limited number of shots. Nothing like that happened on South Whidbey. People waited patiently, and nobody seemed to complain that the vaccine was late arriving this year. They were just happy to get it before the flu season officially begins in January. "

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