Vaccination simulation to prepare county for disaster

Lizzie Martinez
Senior reporter

Recent scientific evidence has shown there is a 10-to 14-percent chance of a tsunami or earthquake occurring in Oregon within the next 50 years, according to an article in The Oregonian on April 9 and the state wants to be ready.
Yamhill County is prepared for when the next natural disaster occurs. From 10 a.m. to noon May 1, the Yamhill County Public Health Department will conduct a test run on Linfield campus.
The goal is to simulate a mass vaccination effort that would take place after a natural disaster, such as an earthquake in the Cascadia subduction zone off of the Oregon Coast. The health department will check to see how efficiently people can be screened and have the vaccination administered.
If a tsunami or earthquake occurred, the devastation would leave behind broken buildings and debris, senior Stephanie Griffin said. If this were the case, it would be beneficial for everyone to have a tetanus vaccination.
Griffin, an exercise science major and an intern in the Public Health Department, is helping coordinate.
Lists for students to prepare their own emergency preparedness kit will also be available. The kit includes household items such as bottled water, canned food, emergency blankets, etc., and is designed to allow a person to survive for three days after a disaster.
At the event, the DTaP vaccine, which protects against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, will be administered at no cost to the Linfield community; the shot normally costs $70.
In addition to educating the campus about dealing with a natural disaster, the event will also emphasize the importance of the DTaP vaccine. DTaP is a recently developed vaccine, adding pertussis to the normal DT vaccine, which most college students received as children.
Generally, a new tetanus shot is needed every 10 years, according to the health department. College students often don’t keep up on the boosters and may be at risk, Griffin said.
She said anyone planning a career in education or health care should attend the event.
Even if students have had a tetanus vaccine in the last two years, they are encouraged to attend. Those who go will be entered into a raffle for $15 iTunes cards. The campus group with the most participation will win a ice cream party.
Visit the Facebook event to find out more information and to see which professors are offering extra credit for participating.
For more information visit www.immunize.org.

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