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Huge crowd turns out for limited flu vaccine

Myrtis Marks wasn’t surprised to see the long line of peoplewaiting to get flu shots this morning at the Lincoln CountyMulti-Use Facility.

“I figured it would be lots and lots of people,” the 67-year-oldBogue Chitto resident said as she took her place at the end of aline that snaked around the facility parking lot around 8 a.m.today. “Everybody wants those flu shots.”

Civil Defense Director Clifford Galey, who directed trafficalong with sheriff’s deputies and volunteer firefighters, said theline was even longer earlier in the day.

Some people arrived as early as midnight to get one of the 557shots available locally. The Brookhaven supply was among 50,000doses statewide being administered by the state Department ofHealth.

Around 6 a.m., Galey said, the line stretched around the parkinglot to Smith Lake Road. He said some cars were directed to parkelsewhere.

“The parking lot was full and they had to park on the road andaround back,” Galey said.

Marks didn’t mind the line.

“I’ll be OK,” she said. “As long as I get it, that’s all thatmatters.”

While the line was long, those in line maintained a good humorabout the situation on the cool November morning.

One person joked that someone selling coffee could make afortune. Others commented on qualifications to get a shot.

“This is one time being old has its advantages,” said Brookhavenresident John Perkins, 74.

Shots were available to “high-risk” individuals. Those includeadults age 65 or people; people with long-term health problems,such as heart disease, kidney disease, lung diseases and others:women who are or may become pregnant during the flu season fromNovember through March; and anyone who cares for or lives withchildren less than six months old.

Once inside the facility, citizens were given forms to declaretheir eligibility to receive the shots. The forms also included anumber for them to listen for while waiting in the building’sauditorium area.

Jim Craig, state director of health protection, said healthofficials were also expecting a large turnout for the limitedsupply of vaccine.

“We knew there were a number of people that would be seeking flushots,” he said. “That’s why we did it here instead of the healthdepartment – because so many people would be coming. We don’t havethe parking or the seating to do this at the healthdepartment.”

More vaccine is expected, Craig said, but he could not say whenit would become available.

“We anticipate receiving more vaccine from the (Centers forDisease Control and Prevention). We’ll look at that time at howmany people are left in the high risk category and determine thenthe best way to proceed.”

Craig expected the health department would host another massvaccination at the Multi-Use Facility if they received enoughvaccine.

There were 76 mass vaccinations held across the state today, hesaid.

“Reports throughout the state have been similar to what we’reseeing here,” he said.

More vaccinations are scheduled for Wednesday, but there will beno more shots administered then in southwest Mississippi, Craigsaid.

Back outside, Oliver Moulder and wife, Dorothy, said theyarrived around 6:45 a.m. However, they stayed in the car a littlewhile.

“We just didn’t want to get in that long line,” he said. “(But)it wasn’t getting any shorter.”

Moulder, 78, acknowledged the possibility of not getting ashot.

“I hope they don’t run out of serum before we get there,” hesaid. “If they do, I’m going to miss a shot this year.”

Health Department officials had designated recipients for alltheir does by shortly after 9 a.m. and were forced to begin turningpeople away. They expected they would be administering shots tothose waiting inside until around noon.