The Lowell Mohler building on the Missouri State Fairgrounds was the focal point of a community-wide exercise conducted by the Pettis County Health Center on Wednesday morning.

“The exercise provided staff with the opportunity to provide influenza vaccination services outside of our usual clinic settings,” explained JoAnn Martin, Pettis County Health Center administrator.

The Center was closed Wednesday to allow their staff to participate, as well as 35 Nursing students from State Fair Community College (and three instructors), and members of PCAD, Sedalia Fire, Sedalia Police and Pettis County EMA.

Erica Elliott, health educator and public information officer for the health center's emergency response team, said that the hands-on exercise gave the staff a chance to practice mass vaccination techniques with the Center's community partners.

“The goal is to get everybody taken care of as smoothly as possible, as though it was a real-world scenario. That way, we are prepared in case we have to rush a bunch of people through for vaccination or medication dispensing,” Elliott said. “Nobody wants the flu. We're helping to protect everybody from the flu virus.”

The Center also provided a drive-through service as well.

Some of the nursing students served as actors who represented disruptions and sick people.

Influenza season is predicted to start early this year and the CDC recommends everyone over the age of six months receive the influenza vaccine before the end of October. Full protection takes about two weeks to develop.

For additional information on influenza vaccination, please visit the Pettis County Health Center at www.pettiscountyhealthcenter.com or call the Health Center at (660) 827-1130.