Southern Colorado Prepares For Pandemic

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Southern Colorado is gearing up in case a real pandemic infects the U.S.

The El Paso County Health Department gave away hundreds of flu shots Saturday morning as practice in case a mass number of residents really did need life saving vaccinations.

The flu clinic was held at Skyview Middle School in Colorado Springs.

County officials say they are taking the exercise very seriously.

They say they don't want to take any chances by waiting until something bad happens.

They also say they want to be 100% ready in case something like the Bird Flu were to sweep through the nation.

The goals, according to health workers, was to plan, practice and learn.

One Colorado Springs resident says, "I think it's an excellent idea."

Much of Saturday's operation plan worked like a charm, but medical workers say there is one hurdle they might run into during the real deal.

El Paso County Health Worker Alana Podratz says, "We may not have as much staff if there was actually an outbreak, I don't think as many people to work would show up, I think that probably would be our biggest obstacle."

But at least, health experts predict, most of the public should stay calm.

Rosemary Bakes-Martin, El Paso County's Public Health Administrator says, "We found during West Nile Virus season and also during heavy flu season two years ago that when people had enough information they really didn't panic."

No one really knows what will happen, if or when a pandemic floods the nation.

All residents know is, "They need to vaccinate everybody in a hurry."

And the only way to know if the county is capable of handling such a life or death situation, is by testing it out and remembering what works.

Podratz says, "I think what makes it work is the team work from everybody that we have here."

Participants say, there is only one thing that surprised them about Saturday's pandemic drill, "I thought there would be more people."

El Paso County gave around 300 of the 600 shots available.

Pueblo County did the same drill last month and about 500 people took advantage of the 1000 shots available.