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Last week’s flu vaccine clinic hailed as a success

The Mower County Health and Human Services’ flu vaccination clinic held last Thursday at the Austin Holiday Inn and Conference Center saw over 220 people getting free flu vaccines.

“It went spectacular; we were very happy with the turnout,” said Community Health Division Manager Pam Kellogg.

Of those vaccinated, over half were kids under the age of 18, Kellogg said.

The clinic was possible thanks to 300 donated vaccines from the Minnesota Department of Health. All vaccines were free of charge.

“We’re already seeing flu numbers come through so we know influenza is circulating,” Kellogg said. “The last thing we need is additional numbers added to the ICU because they are already overwhelmed.”

More importantly, the clinic demonstrated to county health officials that future vaccination clinics can be conducted safely. Health and Human Services Director Crystal Peterson told the Mower County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday that the clinic gave them a chance to do a run through so they can be prepared for when a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.

“I was actually there for a period of time and people were there for less than a minute,” Peterson said. “We had it overstaffed purposely to get a feel for our capacity. There were three appointments every five minutes and we could have done more.”

“We know from what we saw on Thursday that we could have more people come through and we would be able to socially distance them,” said Kellogg, who said they could likely manage 60 appointments per hour.

Kellogg said there are 72 flu shots still available. Anyone who would like to get a flu shot can schedule an appointment by calling Mower County Health and Human Services at 507-437-9701. The shot will be administered on the second floor of the Mower County Government Center.

— Eric Johnson contributed to this story