Ramsey County holds mass vaccination drill 'Operation Big Shot'

  • Article by: BOB VON STERNBERG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 29, 2009 - 11:03 AM

Ramsey County health officials have come up with a novel way to prepare for what's called the novel H1N1 flu: Operation Big Shot

Ramsey County health officials have come up with a novel way to prepare for what's called the novel H1N1 flu.

They're holding a mass vaccination drill called "Operation Big Shot" today to test their ability to immunize a lot of people quickly.

The drill, to be held at North Heights Lutheran Church in Arden Hills, will be run in two sessions, this morning and this afternoon.

Officials are counting on about 300 volunteers to conduct the drill alongside about 200 health department staff members. They emphasized that staffers will not dispense actual vaccinations.

Instead, volunteers acting as patients will be spotted with a marker as health department staffers refine the best way to operate a vaccine clinic for a large number of people.

To entice volunteers, they will be given a $10 gas card after their shifts.

While the exercise is designed to be helpful in planning for swine flu, officials say it may not be the exact model that St. Paul and Ramsey County Public Health choose for public health vaccinations.

Operation Big Shot is one of several training exercises health officials in Ramsey County conduct each year and was scheduled prior to the emergence of the H1N1 flu pandemic.

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