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Mayo tests flu vaccination clinic

How Mayo Clinic plans to vaccinate tens of thousands of people for the flu in one location this year.

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Oliver Mattson, 2, gets a sticker from Mayo Clinic nurse Patty Geerdes after getting his seasonal flu vaccination shot Monday October 05, 2020 while sitting on his mom, Angela Mattson’s lap at the Mayo Northwest Clinic. (Ken Klotzbach / kklotzbach@postbulletin.com)

The Mayo Clinic flu vaccination clinic Monday was a practice run. The vaccine was real, and for 2-year-old Oliver Mattson, the prick from the shot was also piercingly real.

His tears stopped as the nurse who administered the vaccine offered him his choice of colorful stickers.

Oliver’s mother, Angela Mattson, a nurse administrator for the Primary Care Immunization Program, was satisfied with what she saw. Part of her job at Mayo is to help administer the clinic. Making it friendly to young children is an important aspect of this year’s ambitious flu clinic at Mayo Family Clinic Northwest.

In previous years, Mayo offered flu vaccinations at a number of locations, including at schools. This year, Mayo plans to vaccinate tens of thousands of people in seven to eight weeks at one location.

That means the clinic will be set up to keep distance between households, screen everyone who enters, and ensure all participants wear masks.

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With local media watching, Rochester Mayor Kim Norton prepares to get her seasonal flu shot from Mayo Clinic nurse Patty Geerdes Monday October 05, 2020 at the Mayo Northwest Clinic. The clinic brought in a small number of people to get flu shots Monday as a test run before opening the doors for up to 800 people to start coming through daily. (Ken Klotzbach / kklotzbach@postbulletin.com)

“We’ve never done this before,” said Dr. Robert M. Jacobson, a pediatrician at Mayo Clinic. “We’ve actually depended on crowding to get people vaccinated.”

The challenges to accommodate precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 is one of the reasons Mayo officials want to vaccinate as many of their patients as they can for the flu.

“Symptoms of the flu often look like symptoms of COVID-19,” Jacobson said.

Health care officials need to be able to quickly assess whether someone is presenting flu symptoms or COVID-19 symptoms. Ambiguity could slow diagnosis and risk further spreading COVID-19, for which there is no vaccine. COVID-19 is highly contagious and can be fatal.

The clinic opens to Mayo patients Oct. 12 by appointment.

Related Topics: WELLNESSMAYO CLINIC
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