Mass Dispensing Area

FVHD is responsible for ensuring the health of the residents within its jurisdiction.  We are one of 41 regions designated within the State of Connecticut to coordinate a Mass Dispensing Area designed to provide medication as fast as possible to as many healthy residents as possible to prevent illness in the event of a public health emergency.

The Farmington Valley Health District is Mass Dispensing Area #24.

Extensive planning has been done, but the need for volunteers to assist in these efforts is absolutely crucial. Many roles are available and are for the most part straightforward and not difficult to perform. There is need for non-medical as well as medical personnel.There will be “just in time” training and orientation prior to standing up of the clinic for volunteers responding to an imminent crisis.
However, it is important to have a trained core of volunteers prepared in advance to best respond to an emergency. Drills and exercises as well as opportunities to participate in planning and implementation will make our community better prepared to respond to a public health emergency. Individuals interested in stepping up to the task and filling key clinic positions are greatly needed and encouraged to contact the Farmington Valley Health District.

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What to Expect

The Farmington Valley is planning to operate two mass dispensing clinics. In order to divide the population evenly, towns have been pre-assigned to a particular clinic. Proof of residency will be required to gain entry to a designated clinic. (Clinic Locations listed below). As time has passed since the original smallpox planning, the focus has expanded to planning for dispensing medication for other infectious diseases such as avian influenza or anthrax using a similar model, while maintaining flexibility and adaptability to scale the response up or down.

Call-Out System

If a public health threat from smallpox is identified, the state of Connecticut will initiate a call-out system based on a random lottery of first initials of last names of heads of households. For example, a family with the last name of Smith would be eligible to attend their designated clinic on the day that the letter “S” is drawn by the state lottery. This information and detailed instructions will be carried on multiple forms of media and communications. The call-out will be uniform statewide, with all health districts honoring the same “letter” each day in their mass dispensing areas. The family must bring proof of residence and identification, with driver’s licenses or utility bills, as well as arrive on the appropriate call-out day. All children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Special Needs

For those individuals with special needs, planning is being done to ensure that they will have access to care. Contact the Farmington Valley Health District for further information.

Information for Sick Individuals

Already ill or sick individuals need to go to the hospital; the clinic’s purpose is to prevent healthy people from getting sick, and there will be no means of treating sick people.

Staging Areas

People will be directed to go to a staging area first and will not be allowed to go directly to the clinic site. This access will be controlled for security purposes. At the staging area, residency and identification will be checked and forms distributed to fill out. Forms and information sheets will also be available online to speed processing. The people will then be bussed to the clinic sites where their forms will be reviewed, questions answered, and in the case of smallpox, an informational video would be shown prior to signing a consent form. Mental health support services will be available. Vaccinations will then be given to those who consent for treatment and instructions for site care will be given. Licensed volunteer healthcare professionals will give the vaccinations. (It would be helpful to wear short sleeves or otherwise have the upper arm easily accessible.) The busses will then return the group to the collection site to complete the process. In the case of pandemic influenza or anthrax exposure, the clinic would be set up to dispense oral medications or administer vaccines, and this would require again a very large number of volunteers.

Clinic Locations

The number of doses of medication will be allotted to the health districts based on region populations. The Farmington Valley Health District has divided the ten towns in its jurisdiction between two clinic sites to most evenly distribute population numbers. Therefore it is necessary for residents of each town to report to their designated area so the amount of available medication will be adequate. Simsbury and Avon have been selected as clinic sites based on traffic flow considerations as well as extent of town resources. The towns of Simsbury, East Granby, Granby, Hartland, Barkhamsted, and New Hartford will be assigned to the Simsbury site, and Avon, Canton, Colebrook, and Farmington residents will be accommodated at the Avon site. Each town will have its own initial staging area where the residents will first report to and be bussed from the clinic site, which has controlled access. Each town is responsible for managing its own staging areas. It is possible that some busses may be diverted to the alternate clinic site if the processing time and estimated wait time is less. The busses would return to the original staging area where the owners’cars are parked.

*Clinic sites may be subject to change