POD exercise prepares Robins medics for public health emergencies

  • Published
  • By Kisha Foster Johnson

The 78th Medical Group at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is helping to fight off the menacing Influenza Virus.

A Point of Dispensing exercise was held Oct. 5 at the fitness annex facility on base.

The purpose of a POD is for medical workers to practice the mass distribution of vaccines or other medicines.

“Typically, we would vaccinate one squadron at a time,” said Maj. Leighcraft Shakes, 78th Diagnostic and Therapeutic Flight commander. “However, because we know the COVID-19 vaccine is coming at some point, this is a trial run for mass vaccinations of the base population. So we want to test our POD plan with the flu shots and see how effective we can be.”

The vaccinations were divided into morning and afternoon sessions.

Both groups consisted of essential workers base wide, such as those who work in the medical field, fire department and security forces.

Shakes said first responders are at a higher risk of catching the flu because of their constant interaction with the public.

Around 50 medical team members participated in processing patients and issuing vaccines during the event.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, having a POD is important because the process can be used to effectively prevent, mitigate, or treat adverse health effects of a public health emergency.

Health officials recommend getting a flu shot around late September and into October. This time frame allows for better immunity through the flu season, which ends in March.

A total of 500 essential workers were vaccinated during the flu POD exercise.

If you can't get your vaccine with the medical group, flu shots will be available at the base restaurant on Oct. 6 and Oct. 20, from at 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Federal Employees Health Insurance and Tricare Southeast will be accepted. The cost for non-insured to be vaccinated is $25.