On a foggy Saturday morning, a long line of cars crept into the nearly full parking lots at Reservoir High School in Fulton.
A bewildered driver who had a youngster in the back seat trying to get to the playing fields asked whether there was homecoming or something going on. A Howard County Health Department volunteer joked that it was a homecoming for seniors, who showed up long before the 9 a.m. start of the agency's first flu vaccine clinic this fall.
Penny Borenstein, the county's health officer, bustled about with a megaphone and hand-held radio as the crowd lined up for the 1,000 doses of flu vaccine that were administered to residents 65 and older.
A second Health Department clinic is scheduled for 9 a.m. tomorrow near Lord & Taylor at the Mall in Columbia, on a first-come, first-serve basis. In addition to the elderly, that clinic will give shots to pregnant women and people 19 to 64 with a serious chronic medical condition. Verification of age, pregnancy and health condition will be required because of the vaccine shortage.
A third clinic for the same high-risk groups is scheduled for 9 a.m. Nov. 12 at First Presbyterian Church of Howard County in Columbia.
On Saturday morning, Pamela Redmon of Ellicott City fretted about making the elderly stand outside in the damp for a numbered admission sticker.
"They're going to get the flu before they get the shot," Redmon said as family members guided her mother, who has Alzheimer's disease.
Once inside the school, people waited in the auditorium for their number to be called, then got into more lines for paperwork, and eventually entered the dining hall for shots.
Wayne Hemphill of Ellicott City, 77, left the clinic feeling lucky to have received the vaccine.
When he asked his doctor recently about getting a flu shot, he was surprised.
"He told me he didn't have any, he hadn't had any, and he wasn't going to get any," Hemphill said.
-- SUSAN DEFORD