Pre-Pandemic Prep: Mass vaccination drills prepare health agencies for distribution

Published: Dec. 14, 2020 at 10:34 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Preparing for mass vaccinations began in September 2019 as healthcare agencies across the state participated in drills to make sure they’re ready to respond to a crisis.

27 healthcare agencies took part in the drills between September 2019 and September 2020, Wisconsin Department of Health Services listed in the COVID-19 Vaccination Plan.

“I think these will help us tremendously because we’ve been through before we know what to expect,” Julie Leibfried, Lafayette County Health Department Director said.

Practice, plan and prepare are the cornerstones of public health.

“It was pretty much a tetanus shot clinic for our school-aged kids,” Leibfried said.

Three months ago, Lafayette County Health officials led a mass vaccination exercise to explore the best way to distribute medicine to the community.

“Luckily, we have a very workable building here in Lafayette County that we could use, and it handled the traffic very well,” Leibfried said.

During the exercise, county health officials tested a drive thru shot clinic.

“The highway provided us with signage, which was very beneficial, we were able to have it where you could pull in and exit in a one lane. It really showed where we were lacking,” Erin Hastert, Lafayette County Health Department Public Health technician said.

Officials used the experience to fill gaps and fix problems and create a solid plan for the real deal.

“We’re trying to think of all the scenarios that we’ve planned for and we’ve drilled for previously, and actually tailor them to the current situation,” Jennifer Behnke, Coalition Coordinator, South Central Wisconsin Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition said.

The coalition had a vaccination exercise just last week. The hypothetical drills are quickly becoming reality.

“They are working full steam ahead to make this work and to really take care of the community at large,” Behnke said.

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