County school and health officials are working together on plans to delivery medical supplies during emergency situations.
County officials are required to develop strategies for a Closed Point of Distribution (POD) to deliver mass quantities of prophylaxis (vaccines or preventive actions to prevent diseases) to residents within a 48-hour period for infectious diseases or other emergency situations.
Phil Matthews, executive director of plant operations, said a previous board showed interest in participating.
“Now we’re at the point where the rubber meets the road,” Matthews said. “There is a plan of action for Sampson County Schools and that plan needs to be improved.”
According to a Memorandum of Understanding, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established the national program for catastrophic events. Along with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC will provide Strategic National Stockpile medical countermeasures, which includes supplies.
The board of education was scheduled to approve an agreement between the school board and the Sampson County Health Department during a Monday, Oct. 24 meeting.
Kim Jackson, nurse for the school system, and Kathy Johnson, nursing director for the Sampson County Health Department, presented information to the education board during a previous work session.
To distribute vaccines to more than 60,000 residents in the county, a “push-pull” plan would be implemented. The “pull” includes opening a POD site to tell people where they can pick-up prophylaxis for themselves and family members. The “push” method includes distributing to alternate facilities with large groups of people such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools and places of business. These locations are known as closed POD partners, which will not be announced to the general public. It gives emergency officials or organizations a chance to dispense to staff, family members and patients.
“Closed POD partners do not treat the public,” Johnson said. “It’s just for their staff, their staff members, and if it’s something like a nursing home, they can treat their residents. The combination of these methods are designed to make sure that we treat as many people in the county as we possibly can and as quickly as we can.”
After federal officials are notified about a highly infectious disease situation or major emergency, vaccines will be delivered within 24 hours. It will come through the ground or the air.
“It depends on what the situation is,” Johnson said. “It could be pills, vaccines or liquid medications.”
There’s also warehouses throughout the state,where items would be stored before distribution.
“And we would have 48 hours from the time that we got it to provide to the public,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the plan was used about five or six years ago for the H1N1 – swine flu outbreak.
“This plan was put into place at that time,” she said. “Closed POD partners that we had at the time were able to keep up with vaccines and provide vaccine to their staff.”
School officials are responsible for selecting disclosed sites for POD centers.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.