With COVID-19 cases rising here and the flu season just around the corner, Saturday’s 28th annual Free Flu Shot Saturday, Sept. 19, becomes even more critical in 2020. The medical community wants to avoid what it is calling a “twindemic” of flu and Covid, possibly creating a care crisis this fall of treating both at the same time.
Dr. Charlie Barnett, one of the founders of Flu Shot Saturday when he was in the Rotary Club of Farragut, says it is imperative for people to be vaccinated this year. “With the threat of Covid too, especially for those 65 and over, it’s a no brainer and an absolute necessity to get the flu shot.”
The 3,000 shots will be given at four schools in Knox County in a “drive-thru” setup where people will receive their injections while in their vehicles, preventing contact with others. Students from the UT College of Nursing will administer the shots, and traffic control officers and all volunteers will be in masks and maintaining social distancing. Latex gloves will be used to sanitize clipboards and pens will be discarded.
The shots will be given at four locations in the school’s parking lots beginning at 8 a.m.:
- Austin-East High: 540 shots
- Farragut High: 1,140 shots.
- Halls High: 600 shots
- West High: 720 shots
Barnett explained that Farragut has more shots available because it always has the highest turnout and this year it is the only site with the senior higher dosage flu vaccine available for people 65 and older. Children 4 and older also can be vaccinated.
Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler is providing volunteer members of the department’s Reserve Deputy program to manage traffic at the four sites. The plan is for two deputies to be at each site, assisted by Rotarians. Drivers will pull their cars under tents for the shots to be given.
Again this year, the Rotary Club of Farragut and Knoxville’s other five Rotary clubs will be assisting with traffic, the registration process and coordinating volunteers. Rotarians from Farragut will be joined by members of the Rotary Club of Knoxville, Bearden Rotary, Volunteer Rotary, Knoxville Breakfast Rotary and North Knoxville Rotary, as well as Interact students from Hardin Valley Academy.
This event is also a fundraiser for the News Sentinel’s Empty Stocking Fund holiday project. People can donate with cash, checks and this year electronically with credit cards. The Empty Stocking Fund provides food and toys for kids and needy families during the holidays.
To explore membership in the Rotary Club of Farragut, email email@example.com or call 865-659-3562. Tom King has served at newspapers in Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and California and has been the editor of two newspapers.