Thousands Stand In Line For Flu Shots - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

11/09/04

Thousands Stand In Line For Flu Shots

The scene outside the coast coliseum Tuesday morning looked a lot like fans lining up for a hot concert ticket. But the crowd of mostly elderly wasn't interested in music. They came looking for flu shots.

They braved the morning cold in the name of good health. Despite warnings not to show up early, hundreds still arrived before dawn. Many figured the "early birds" had the best chance of getting the much-sought-after vaccine.

The long and winding line snaked around the west side of the coast coliseum.

"Just make sure that you have your proof of residency available," said a health department staff member, to the growing crowd outside.

The mostly elderly crowd included hundreds of "early birds". David and Margaret Burger got up at four o'clock in the morning.

They were numbers 11 and 12. The couple figured they'd take no chances with all the talk of a flu vaccine shortage.

"Once we got in it was fine. It's real nice in there. I was surprised about the set up inside compared to outside," said David Burger.

The later arrivals faced a little longer wait. But the line kept moving.

Most of the "at risk" adults share concerns about the shortage of flu shots. The health department's latest allocation of 50 thousand shots statewide, gave them an opportunity.

"I got to have it. And I've been worried 'cause there ain't many out there," said Tony Pittman of Saucier.

Dozens of orange vested health workers kept the lines moving and the mood light hearted.

"Sorry for the wait, we gotta keep sharpening the needle," one of the workers joked.

Despite a few complaints about having to wait outside, most folks we talked with praised the health department's efficiency.

"I got here at twenty minutes 'til eight. There was a terrific line. And by the grace of good fortune, I was out of here at a quarter after eight," said Moody Grishman.

By Steve Phillips

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