The City of Santa Clarita, L.A. County Department of Public Health, College of the Canyons and L.A. County Sheriff’s Department are teaming up for the eighth consecutive year to conduct a flu immunization Point of Dispending (POD) on Friday, Nov. 15.
The flu-immunization POD will be held in the East Physical Education building on the College of the Canyons Valencia campus, located off Rockwell Canyon Road. Parking will be in adjacent lots and the vaccine will be dispensed from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or while supplies last.
“The flu POD has proven to be a valuable service to the community and we look forward to making the immunizations available at the Valencia campus again this year,” said Eric Harnish, COC’s vice president for public information.
Inoculations against the seasonal flu at the POD are provided free of charge and will be dispensed at this event in anticipation of an active flu season.
In addition, the flu POD also tests the community’s Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI) response during a bioterrorism attack or potential pandemic. The purpose of the CRI plan is to treat an impacted, mass population with medications within a short time period.
The POD is designed to operate under a command structure required by the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) and the National Incident Management System (NIMS), which have been established to provide effective management of multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional emergencies in California. Police, fire and other first responder agencies use SEMS/NIMS procedures regularly because the system improves coordination and communications and reduces resource duplication during complex responses. The theory is that with more agencies and volunteers learning the specifics of SEMS/NIMS, the more efficient all complex response activities will become.
Each year, additional volunteers are brought into the organizational structure of the POD to learn the responsibilities of various key positions. As a result, more people are trained each year to assume the various responsibilities within the emergency structure. The hope is to develop a pool of people within the community who can step in and run multiple PODs if a future situation were to warrant that. More than 150 volunteers from the participating agencies help coordinate the event each year.
The college’s Valencia campus is conveniently located near freeways and major arteries so that, in a real world bioterrorism event, large numbers of people could be inoculated very efficiently.
COC nursing students administer most of the vaccinations and EMT students are part of the pre-screening process as well, giving students valuable, hands-on experience from the POD.
Nurses from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the college and volunteer nurses will be on hand to lend their knowledge and expertise to the POD. Numerous City of Santa Clarita staff, the City’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers as well as City of Santa Clarita’s Emergency Communication Team volunteers will also participate.
In the event of a large outbreak of disease or a bio-terrorist attack, many sites similar to this one in Santa Clarita could be needed to serve affected California communities.
Those seeking flu-immunization at the POD are reminded that pets are not allowed on the College of the Canyons Valencia campus, with the exception of service animals.