Tipton County Health Department Conducts Mass Prophylaxis Exercise Using Flu Vaccine Clinic

Indiana Epidemiology Newsletter
November 2007

Doug Market
Public Health Coordinator
Tipton County Health Department

On October 3, the Tipton County Health Department (TCHD) conducted its second mass prophylaxis exercise of 2007. Volunteers were trained in their respective point of dispensing (POD) roles, and the POD layout and Mass Prophylaxis Plan were revised using the information learned.

To make the exercise more realistic, free flu shots and $25 pneumonia shots were offered in order to attract large numbers of the public.  As people arrived, they went through the exercise (a mock anthrax event).  After they had received their “medication” at the dispensing station, they could “cash” it in for a free flu shot.  The flu clinic operated as a separate function to avoid disturbing throughput for the mass prophylaxis exercise.  Tipton County Hospital nurses served as flu vaccinators so that TCHD clinic volunteers could focus on the POD training.

The goal of the exercise was to distribute 400 flu shots in a two-hour period (5-7:00 p.m.).  During that time, 415 people went through the exercise, and 405 received flu shots. Six vaccinators were used from 5:00 to 5:30 p.m. When the line for flu shots began to interfere with the mass prophylaxis exercise, three volunteers were reassigned to serve as vaccinators, totaling nine vaccinators from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.


5:00 – 5:30 p.m. – 1.7 people per minute with six vaccinators
5:30 – 6:00 p.m. – 5.4 people per minute with nine vaccinators
6:00 – 6:30 p.m. – 3.2 people per minute with nine vaccinators
6:30 – 7:00 p.m. – 3.2 people per minute with nine vaccinators

Total Average – 3.6 people per minute


  • Because individuals had to first pass through the mass prophylaxis exercise and complete paperwork before receiving a flu shot, no flu shots were given from 5:00 to 5:15,.

  • Some individuals chose to receive a $25 pneumonia shot as well, which required vaccinators to give two vaccinations instead of one.

  • Actual times may vary up to five minutes, since they were recorded upon communication by the Inventory Manager to the Operations Section Chief and then to the Incident Commander where they were officially recorded.

All individuals received vaccine information statements regarding flu vaccination and/or pneumonia vaccination, depending on what they received. The inventory was managed by counting the vaccination consent forms, which the vaccinators collected as they vaccinated individuals. This inventory system was separate from the system used during the mass prophylaxis exercise but equally as important. Since the flow of “patients” was steady, it was necessary to maintain the flu vaccine inventory as accurately as possible, so an average of clinic throughput could be estimated to determine when (and if) vaccine supplies were depleted. If vaccine supplies were depleted, exercise organizers planned to ask local emergency management agency representatives to inform residents that, although flu vaccine was no longer available, they could still participate in the exercise.