Fairfax County Tests Bioterrorism Response Plan


Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935, FAX 703-324-2010

Oct. 16, 2003

 

Fairfax County Tests Bioterrorism Response Plan

 

After more than a year of logistical planning and volunteer recruitment, the Fairfax County Health Department is preparing to conduct the first test of the county’s bioterrorism response plan on Saturday, Oct. 25. “We’ve planned for a worse-case scenario that requires the vaccination of our entire population of more than a million people within three to five days,” said Director of Health Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu. “Bioterrorism is an emerging public health threat and we want to make sure we are prepared to respond to protect the public.”

Beginning at 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning, volunteer patients will start arriving at Marshall High School, located at 7731 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, to go through a mass smallpox vaccination clinic. During the next four hours bioterrorism medical action teams will screen, educate, register and simulate vaccinating these volunteer patients to test the clinic design and staffing plan. This clinic activation is being held as part of the statewide bioterrorism exercise being conducted Oct. 19-22.

Transportation was the first challenge for planners. School parking lots are not adequate for the crowds who would come to be vaccinated so a transportation plan was developed using school and county busses to bring patients from designated collection points at nearby middle and elementary schools. Planners have also considered how to handle patients who have a disability, patients who don’t speak English and patients who may succumb to the emotional stress of the situation.

Teams of trained volunteers working alongside county staff will transport patients, screen incoming patients to identify persons who are already ill or have been exposed to someone with smallpox, conduct educational sessions in English as well as other languages, assist patients to complete registration forms, administer the vaccine, provide education on vaccination site care and finally, transport the patients back to the collection points. In a real emergency this is the routine that would continue 24 hours a day until all residents have been evaluated and treated.

NOTE: Media representatives are invited to attend the clinic between 10-11 a.m. Interview and photo opportunities will be available in the following areas: Transportation, Intake, Education, Registration, Treatment and Recovery. For more information or directions to Marshall High School, call the Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935.


FAIRFAX COUNTY IS COMMITTED TO A POLICY OF NONDISCRIMINATION IN ALL COUNTY PROGRAMS, SERVICES AND ACTIVITIES AND WILL PROVIDE REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS UPON REQUEST. TO REQUEST SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS, CALL 703-324-3187, TTY 703-324-2935. PLEASE ALLOW FIVE WORKING DAYS IN ADVANCE OF EVENTS IN ORDER TO MAKE THE NECESSARY ARRANGEMENTS

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