Dougherty hosting inoculation drive

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Photo by J.D. Sumner

ALBANY, Ga. -- Those getting an early start on their holiday shopping will also be able to cross something else off their to-do list as they are looking for items to place under the tree.

The Dougherty County Health Department has started an immunization drive at the Albany Mall to allow shoppers increased access to vaccines against influenza as well as other diseases.

The event began Thursday, and is expected to run through Dec. 2. This is the first such drive hosted by the health department.

"The main reason we are doing this is because there is a high influx of people there and our goal is to protect people from vaccine-preventable diseases," said Suzette Profit, immunization coordinator at the Dougherty County Health Department.

On the first day of the drive, officials welcomed 28 people in less than five hours -- which they consider to be a good response.

"I was amazed with the number of people getting vaccines and them having no knowledge of them being available," said Profit.

"We actually had a man from Thomasville call us (Thursday) asking about it."

The vaccines being administered are tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whopping cough) for people ages 11-64; pneumococcal (pneumonia) for those aged 2 or older; and gardasil (human papillomavirus or HPV) for ages 9-26.

Flu shots will be administered for $25. Medicare, Medicaid, cash, checks as well as the state health benefit plans of United Healthcare and Cigna will be accepted.

"With it getting cold, it might make the interest in flu vaccine greater," Profit said.

There are no costs for the other vaccines.

The drive will be held in front of the Shoe Department from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 1 p.m.-7 p.m. Saturdays.

Profit said this may become an annual event. "I think that would be great," she said.

For more information, call the health department at (229) 430-6300.