Durham, N.C. — Health care workers rolled up their sleeves Wednesday as part of a 24-hour flu vaccine drill organized by Duke Hospital.
The drill, which involved 10 other health centers in the Triangle area, was all in preparation for a possible flu pandemic.
Duke set up a vaccination station in a ground-floor hallway for staff members, and mobile carts were used to take vaccines to employees.
Duke lactation consultant Michelle Hojnacki says she gets the shot early every flu season – and not just for herself.
“Well for the patients, if I get sick then I'm out of work,” she said. “Plus, I can actually bring the disease to the patients, so I want to make sure I stay healthy.”
A hospital is where people go to get well. But if a major flu pandemic strikes, it could be just the opposite.
“The patients that we would have here are almost universally within the higher risk categories,” said Dr. Cameron Wolfe, Duke infectious disease specialist.
“So this really tests our ability to reach out to all of our staff, to find where they are in the work day and to make sure that all of our communication channels - not just internally, but also between us and the county - work as smoothly as we can,” he said.
The effort includes health centers in Orange and Wake Counties, including Rex Hospital, where the vaccine is mandatory this year. Rex mobile technology specialist Denell Strother had several reasons to get the vaccine early.
“I go to the nursing home to visit my mother,” she said. “I think it's important to carry it out there as well.”