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Published November 19, 2009, 10:00 PM

Grand Forks Prepping For Largest Flu Clinic

Grand Forks Public Health prepares for a weekend clinic where they'll give out around 2500 H1N1 vaccines.

By: Joel Porter, WDAZ

The public health department is organizing its fourth H1N1 clinic for Saturday afternoon in Grand Forks.

They hope to give out about 25 hundred vaccines in just three hours.

After 3 clinics, the public health department has vaccinated the majority of pregnant women in the county, but says they've only covered a fraction of school age children.

Just how many they'll cover after Saturday will depend on demand for the vaccine.

Equipment, supplies and paperwork are piled up in the conference room at the Grand Forks public health department. The staff has only one more day to make preparations for Saturday's vaccine clinic.

Don Shields/ GF Public Health: We know how many people reside in Grand Forks county by different ages, we don't know how many of those people will want to take the vaccine because it is voluntary.

The CDC has been sending the department shipments of the vaccines a few times a week. The exact number and what type of vaccine are unknown until nursing staff open the coolers.

Kathy Dunn/ Immunization Prog. Coordinator: We still would like to have some time to go into schools or do school located clinics and we also would like to get out in the county, but the way the vaccine has been distributed and given to our community, it's made that almost impossible.

Health workers will have about 25 hundred H1N1 accines on hand at this weekend's clinic at Red River high school. But just like at the past three clinics, Shields says people can expect long lines that move at a steady pace.

Don Shields/ GF Public Health: because they have been patient and certainly there've been long lines and my heart goes out to somebody whose got a couple of kids waiting for a clinic over dinner hour and watching their kids melt down.

Kathy Dunn/ Immunization Prog. Coordinator: With each clinic we learn a little more and we try to improve the next one so there'll be less time waiting.

That's also why Shields says volunteers are so critical to the clinic. The public health department has 25 people on staff at this time of year, but it takes more than four times that many to run a clinic.