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Public Health Emergencies

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In public health emergencies, such as communicable disease outbreaks or biological or chemical releases, the health department serves as a leader in the response and has a much larger responsibility throughout the entire response.  For instance, public health may provide medication or vaccination (also called medical countermeasures [MCM]) to the populations exposed to pandemic influenza, anthrax release, or other biological releases.  The health department also conducts medical surveillance and lab testing to determine the extent of the outbreak.  In addition, the health department actively seeks to mitigate the effects of the outbreak by educating the public on how to minimize the spread of the disease or protect themselves from exposure.

If HCPH needs to provide medication or vaccination to the entire population (or to an exposed segment of the population) within their service jurisdiction, HCPH will stand up point of dispensing (POD) sites.  The affected public will be asked to report to an ‘open’ or ‘community’ POD site to receive medication in an organized way.  The locations of the POD sites will be announced at the time of the event through numerous communication platforms, such as social media, television and radio.  Once at the POD site, individuals must complete health history forms, called NAPH forms (Name, Address, Phone Number and Health History), which will be used to determine whether they are eligible for the medications and to track medications dispensed.  You can save yourself time by filling out the form prior to arriving at the POD site.  Bring the form with you to the clinic to bypass part of the registration process.

The NAPH forms will be used by all people receiving MCMs.

As with all emergencies, please visit local media outlets for important information regarding public health emergencies.  Specific instructions on where and when to receive medication, exposure prevention strategies, and other important information will be broadcast on local radio stations, published in the local newspaper, and updated on our website.

 

Click here to read more about our Medical Countermeasure Readiness Program.