July 19, 2011
The Portsmouth City Health Department will conduct a mass vaccination drill this Friday, July 22, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the campus of Shawnee State University to test the abilities of both organizations to efficiently provide flu vaccinations to the community in the event of an emergency. The exercise is for testing purposes only. No actual vaccinations will be provided.
"We hold periodic drills throughout the community to test our procedures and fine-tune our emergency response plans," Dr. Randy Schlegel, Response Coordinator for the Portsmouth City Health Department, said. "In this particular exercise, we want to test our procedures for drive-through vaccinations, where we would be able to mass vaccinate the public, while they remain in their vehicles. The drill will help us work out the logistics so that if we would ever need to implement our plans for a pandemic, we would have clear data that would tell us how many people we could get through in a given amount of time."
Chief David Thoroughman with the Department of Public Safety at Shawnee State University said that the drill will help both organizations become better prepared in a number of ways.
"This type of exercise not only helps test plans and procedures, but from our perspective, we will also be looking at facilities needs," Thoroughman said. "Our Athletic Center serves as a mass vaccination site in the event of an emergency. We don't want to wait until we have an emergency to realize that there is a specific need that we didn't plan on. By actually setting up in the space, involving the emergency response teams from both organizations, and working through the exercise, we will have a clearer picture of our needs – and any changes that we need to make."
The teams plan to hold a press conference immediately following the drill to discuss the success of the exercise and lessons learned.