As the country’s effort to vaccinate up to 200 million people shifts from healthcare workers and the most vulnerable to the general public, Facilitron has been working with state and local officials as well as non-profit organizations across the country to explore the role that Facilitron—through its platform, implementation and support infrastructure—might play in a community-based vaccine distribution plan.
Much of the consideration is centered around the concept of points of dispensing or PODs. Points of dispensing are locations where state and local agencies dispense medications, vaccinations or medical supplies to the public during an emergency. “Open” PODs, which are open to the general public, are usually large public facilities such as schools or community centers that are capable of accommodating large numbers of people. “Closed” PODs might include schools too, but as a location to vaccinate teachers and staff only—in other words, ”closed” to the public.
Local emergency plans may already have schools as designated POD sites, but based on the specifics of the pandemic, public health will be updating plans in an effort to make sure vaccines are distributed fairly and equitably.
How Facilitron can help?
Facilitron partners with school districts to help them manage facility schedules and facilitate community use, which also includes managing and supporting emergency medical efforts such as mass vaccination dispensing. While large scale operations such as dispensing medical countermeasures (MCMs) during a pandemic are relatively unusual, working with districts to schedule evacuation shelters or relief centers for disasters like hurricanes, floods, earthquakes or wildfires is routine.
Cities and school districts on the Facilitron platform have the benefit of streamlined processes already in place for participation in community-based efforts. From a government agency point of view, having a searchable database of all emergency shelters or POD locations—with map views, details on capacities, amenities, equipment and services as well as the ability to reserve those locations through an online request process—is a tremendous advantage when planning relief efforts during an emergency.
Is your district ready?
Facilitron’s contribution to the national effort to vaccinate millions is through creating a points of dispensing “registry” so that public health departments and government agencies can find information about these facilities and know who to contact when emergency plans are activated. This means Facilitron will use public information about schools and community centers to add all locations in an area to our searchable database of partner schools and municipalities.
If your city or school district wants to participate as a points of dispensing location or even if your district has facilities designated as Red Cross shelters, working with Facilitron to supply more details about your site availability is an important first step in making your public facilities more accessible to government agencies during an emergency.
Are simple joint use agreements or MOUs enough?
The short answer: no.
An operation such as a vaccine point of dispensing operation at your facility could involve several groups—government agencies, non-profits, medical personnel and more. Understanding who’s responsible for what is critically important. All too often, a basic joint use agreement or memorandum of understanding (MOU) leaves public spaces holding the bag for unaddressed or miscalculated costs such employee time, utilities, and unforeseen or hidden expenses..
Partnering with Facilitron allows your city or district to take full advantage of Facilitron’s platform and support infrastructure ensuring every cost and agreement is covered between all stakeholders, governmental agencies, and even fiscal auditors.
Districts using Facilitron to designate which of their facilities are available to Local Emergency Management Agencies (LEMAs) are able to receive formal use requests through the platform and thus are able to approve any necessary fees to recoup costs and record services and equipment requested and more. This platform becomes the centralized system-of-record for approved, calendarized events and the repository for joint use agreements, MOUs, insurance and other documents. Facilitron also works to collect the fees for cleanup or security which might otherwise come out of school operational budgets. Other benefits include accessing a range of valuable data points such as how many hours public facilities are used and the costs incurred.
With teachers among those on the frontlines of the pandemic, using the Facilitron Attendee Management feature allows districts to document every teacher or faculty member on the employment roster not only when conducting vaccination efforts onsite but for check-in/out during the regular work day. As government employees, teachers are designated Disaster Service Workers (DSWs), so any onsite effort utilizing school campuses as a mass point of dispensing could require the assistance of both internal staff and external entities. In any case, having Attendee Management enables districts to document everyone who participates in dispensation efforts on campus. This is valuable for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is if the need for contact tracing should arise.
To learn more about how to join the Facilitron POD registry, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.