Points of Dispensing Sites
During a public health emergency, such as a large scale disease outbreak or bioterrorism event, public health agencies may be tasked to provide antibiotics or vaccines to all members of our community potentially exposed to the disease. Points of Dispensing (POD) Sites are planned in Knox County where individuals who need medication can get it quickly. Routine medical care is not provided in a POD; the sole purpose of a POD is to quickly distribute preventive medication to large numbers of people during a public health emergency in an effort to PREVENT ILLNESS.
Who might have to go to a POD during a public health emergency to receive medication?
Only individuals who have potentially been exposed to the disease causing the public health emergency will be able to receive antibiotics or vaccine at a POD. PODs are designed to provide medication that will PREVENT someone from becoming sick with a disease. Persons who are already sick with the disease will not be able to seek treatment at a POD. Those persons who are ill and require treatment will have to be seen at their physician’s office or the hospital.
POD Planning Considerations:
- The Department of Health has set a goal of dispensing to 1,000 individuals per hour per POD.
- Tennessee’s SNS plan allows up to 15 regimens be given to a single individual for their family, friends, or neighbors. The person picking up the medications must provide the basic information for each regimen that they pick up and this information needs to be included in the POD’s records.
- The head of household model will be used to dispense multiple regimens to one individual.
- An adult will be allowed to pick up medicines for family members, friends and neighbors.
- Adults presenting at the POD must be able to provide the required data for each person.
- Public Service Announcements during the event will repeatedly announce what ID and personal info will be required to receive medications being dispensed at the POD site.
- Media outlets will be asked to include reminders about the required identification and personal information residents will need to receive medications from the POD.
- The majority of citizens will not require medical consultation or present with special needs.
Where will PODs be set up?
There are 8 to 11 PODs planned at schools throughout Knox County. Each POD will be operational 24 hours a day for 48 hours, vaccinating up to 50,000 people per POD – totaling 400,000 people. Because such large numbers of people will be processing through each POD, it is essential that there be security and traffic control measures.
Who will work in a POD?
Each POD should be staffed by at least 100 people per 12 hour shift. Knox County Health Department (KCHD) employees will serve as lead staff for the PODs. However, medical and non-medical volunteers are essential. As the decision is made for PODs to be opened in Knox County, a call will be made through the media for medical and non-medical volunteers to report to a central location to receive a POD assignment. Once volunteers reach their assigned POD, a KCHD employee will provide Just-In-Time training to orient volunteers to their particular assignments.
If you are interested in being a volunteer, more information is found on our Volunteer page. Those interested in volunteering will be placed on a mailing list, where they will receive information and training updates. Currently, training is available on our Training and Education page, where you can learn more about the role of Public Health in emergencies, PODs, from where the medication for the PODs comes, and an overview of possible bioterrorism agents. There are also links to other information and training resources.