The Louisiana Department of Health – Office of Public Health, and its volunteers vaccinated nearly 26,000 people within just a few hours, demonstrating the state’s ability to respond to a possible health emergency. Unofficial totals put the number of vaccinations at 25,955 statewide. Long, but fast moving, lines formed quickly at the nine regional flu vaccination clinics called Point of Dispensing sites, or PODS. The state’s Office of Public Health had hoped to vaccinate as many as 200 people per hour, but instead handled more than 550 an hour during peak times. People from 10 states and two countries showed up for the free flu shots.

The Department of Health – Office of Public Health Immunization Medical Director, Dr. Frank Welch, says the exercise was meant to test the state’s ability to provide medications to large numbers of people during a health emergency. “This proves the state’s ability to respond to a public health emergency by setting up PODs to serve large numbers of people during a crisis.”

Welch says workers did a great job, but he also gives credit to the people who showed up for the shots. “The fact that we had so many people participate demonstrates the public’s willingness, not only to help the state test our emergency preparedness systems, but also to protect themselves and their community against the flu.”

LDH officials say if you did not get your free flu shot during Thursday’s exercise there are plenty of places to get vaccinated, including local clinics and doctor’s offices.

Unofficial Regional Totals:

2,335 shots       
Alexandria Senior High School   
800 Ola Lane     

Baton Rouge
2,776 shots
Bon Carre Business Center
7173 Florida Boulevard

Woodland Park Baptist Church
1909 J.W. Davis Dr.

3,694 shots       
St. Edmond Family Center    
4131 W. Congress Street   

Lake Charles
1,996 shots
Glad Tidings Church
3400 Texas Street 

2,252 shots
First Baptist Church
500 Pine Street

New Orleans       
4,030 shots       
University of New Orleans   
Recreation and Fitness Center   

3,491 shots
Summer Grove Baptist Church
8924 Jewella Avenue

3,565 shots
Thibodaux Civic Center
310 North Canal Boulevard