Today, Rod and I took the two-hour trip up to Audrain County so we could observe and gather facts about how they were running the Missouri National Guard (MoNG) Mass Vaccination Event at their airport.
After a bit of a slow start, things really got flowing in their setup. Vehicles stopped at the first checkpoint to answer three question: Are you over 65, do you have preexisting medical conditions, and/or are you a first responder or healthcare worker?
People who fell in this phase and tier were waved on to checkpoint two, where they received the consent forms to fill out and sign. Those who did not fall in this phase and tier were directed to the exit.
At the third checkpoint, the vaccine was administered to blocks of about 30 vehicles at a time and began their 15 minute observation period.
After that, they were directed to the exit to depart the airport.
EMS was on-scene throughout the area including at the first checkpoint in case people weren’t sure if they were supposed to get the vaccine in this phase and tier.
On site was the Cole County Mobile Emergency Operations Center (or MEOC). From the MEOC, the command staff could monitor the ENTIRE event from an extremely high resolution camera raised from the top.
Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) Region F Coordinator Brenda Gerlach, Regional Homeland Security Oversight Committee (RHSOC) Region F Representative Melissa Stafford, Cole County EMD Sierra Thomas, and many others were there to see how things were done!
Audrain County Emergency Management Director Nick Tietsort and Assistant EMD Juda Paniagua did top-notch work, constantly moving to answer questions, solve problems, and keep things running smoothly as the Operations Chiefs for the event.
A couple of lessons learned from the event: the water from the hand washing stations at the portapotties froze, so keep a supply of hand sanitizer going, have an Incident Action Plan (IAP) to put the communications phone numbers and radio frequencies in everyone’s hands (we have officially begged Nick for a copy of his to help us out! :D), warn people that just because they get in quickly, it doesn’t mean they are leaving quickly. If you are holding up lines of cars for 15 minutes and then the next set of cars for 15 minutes and so on, then people can be in line for HOURS. Bring food and water with you. Portapotties are provided, but bring handiwipes or hand sanitizer in case you can’t wash your hands, and make sure you have plenty of people to preload the vaccine.
For our event, one piece of advice comes up over and over: GET ON THE LIST!!!
We are going to be up in Cole County for the next MoNG Mass Vax Event to learn even more before it is OUR turn!
For more information, visit our COVID-19 webpage!
Stay tuned for updates!