State Health Department Holds Mass Vaccination Training Exercise
1,500 State Employees to Receive Flu Vaccinations
Albany, N.Y. (November 15, 2007) - Over 1,500 state employees are participating in a state Health Department training exercise today at the Harriman State Office Campus, Building 3 (former cafeteria and State Employees Federation Credit Union/SEFCU) in Albany as part of the state's continuing emergency preparedness efforts to respond quickly in the event of a public health emergency.
The state Health Department is conducting a Point of Dispensing (POD) exercise to evaluate the state's emergency response to immunize a large number of people from a vaccine-preventable illness in a short time period.
"The Department's mass flu vaccination exercise will serve as a training ground so health care practitioners will be ready for all types of public health emergencies," said State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D.
Between 10 a.m.-3 p.m. today, the State Health Department will provide flu shots or Flu Mist® intra-nasal vaccine, free of charge to state employees who previously registered to get vaccinated.
In addition to administering vaccine, volunteers have been assigned to help fill out forms, give people directions, keep track of supplies, or perform other jobs, such as:
- Set up and break down equipment;
- Help those being vaccinated to complete paperwork;
- Streamline and direct people waiting to be vaccinated;
- Provide computer network support and a backup paper system; and
- Support internal communications.
"Every county in New York State has already identified locations that could serve as PODs for local residents, if necessary," Commissioner Daines said. "This event is part of the Department's public health preparedness initiative that is improving New York's ability to respond to a naturally occurring or man-made health crisis. Preparedness is crucial, and we are committed to enhancing our readiness in every way possible."
The New York State Office of General Services has provided the state Health Department with the necessary space to conduct the exercise at Building 3. The New York State Police has collaborated with the State Health Department to provide security.
State public health preparedness initiatives include:
- Working with hospitals, local health departments and state agencies to develop detailed emergency response plans and full-scale training exercises.
- Developing surveillance systems to assist in quickly identifying emerging disease threats.
- Training doctors, nurses and other medical professionals about emergent health threats and treatment protocols.
- Establishing an extensive statewide medical volunteer database.
- Developing the Health Emergency Response Data System (HERDS), a statewide electronic data collection system.
Since 2005, the state Health Department has conducted four other regional exercises in Albany, Syracuse, New York City and Buffalo. Additionally, all counties in New York have also conducted at least one POD in order to be prepared to protect New Yorkers in the event of a serious disease outbreak. For additional information about the state Emergency preparedness efforts please visit the department web site at www.health.ny.gov.