It is a Saturday morning in December and two weeks from Christmas. Usually, I would be shopping at the mall for gifts and having a nice lunch at one of the restaurants. But not in the year 2020. I just completed Zoom training as a Virginia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteer. The Commonwealth of Virginia is preparing for the mass COVID-19 vaccination efforts as part of the national plan submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
During this training today, I learned that Virginia would manage the statewide vaccination via the local Point of Dispensing (PODs) efforts. PODs are community locations where state and local agencies dispense Medical Countermeasures (MCMs) to the public during a public health emergency. To aid in rapidly dispensing MCMs, the local public health department will use two types of PODs, open and closed.
The first type of POD is a Closed POD. A Closed POD will collaborate with hospitals and other health care facilities to vaccinate health care workers and staff. Other Closed PODs include private employers such as those that employ essential workers, etc. A Closed POD is not open to the general public.
The second type of POD is an Open POD. An open POD is available to anyone. Open PODs are community-based with locations in public buildings or outdoor settings such as parking lots.
In Virginia, the first COVID-19 vaccination efforts will deploy Closed PODs at hospitals. Healthcare workers are the population vaccinated in Phase 1A. As stated during the training, there will be more to come as plans evolve with the nationwide planning and supply chain logistics. To stay informed of the latest, I plan to follow the social media updates via the Virginia Department of Health Twitter Account @VDHgov and the hashtag #VaccinateVirginia.
I’m looking forward to working in the PODs over the next few months. With the success of these efforts, let’s hope December 2021 will be full of shopping and good cheer. In the meantime, see you in the POD!