Open Points of Dispensing (PODS)

Frequently Asked Questions

Author: Emergency Preparedness Staff/Monday, January 7, 2013/Categories: Emergency Pharmaceutical Distribution

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An open POD is where the general public will go to receive medication or a vaccine.  Open PODs are for the general public. 

There are plans for each POD site which include set up instructions, supplies, staffing, floor plans, safety and security plans, emergency contact information, etc.  Will County Health Department is responsible for developing plans for each POD and for running all open PODs in Will County.  

about it in the news (print, radio and television), mass messages may be sent through your land line telephone, and on Will County Health Department website www.willcountyhealth.org.  The health department has plans in place for each of the open PODs.  The POD locations and plans have been predetermined.  They will be announced at the time of an emergency.  

How will I know where a POD is located?

Open PODs are located all across Will County.  When a POD is opened during an emergency you will hear about it in the news (print, radio and television), mass messages may be sent through your land line telephone, and on Will County Health Department website www.willcountyhealth.org.  The health department has plans in place for each of the open PODs.  The POD locations and plans have been predetermined.  They will be announced at the time of an emergency.  

Who can go to a POD to received medication?  Depending on the public health emergency anyone can go to an open POD.  However, there may be times when certain groups are identified as target groups or priority groups. 

In some public health emergencies there are target groups or priority groups that are identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).  This decision is usually made based on the emergency at the time.  Some reasons for target groups could include: only a small number of people were exposed or the medications are limited so only to the most vulnerable people will be medicated.  Also, vulnerable people may be identified differently depending on the emergency or disease.

More about open PODs in a public health emergency.

  • PODs are not a doctor appointment; the purpose of the POD is to provide medication quickly.  PODs only provide medication to prevent the specific disease outbreak.  They will not be dispensing other medications or providing medical care.
  • Educational information regarding the medication, illness or agent will be distributed at the PODs.  If you have further questions you will need to contact your doctor or listen to the news for information regarding the public health emergency.
  • Do not go to the emergency room to receive medication, hospitals will not be giving medicine to the general public. 
  • Medication during a declared public health emergency will be free.
  • No one will be asked for insurance information, identification (like a license or state ID) or immigration status.
If you are sick, go to the nearest hospital, open PODs will not treat sick people.

Picking up medications for others from a POD

  • If medication is in the form of pills, send one person per house with the following information.
    • Download and complete the Health Assessment Form off our website.
    • Know how much your children weigh.
    • Know family members allergies, particularly to medications
  • Bring food or water in case you need it (Clear/see-through bags are best for security reasons). 
  • Lines to receive medications will be long, so your patience will be appreciated.
  • Make sure to dress appropriately for weather.  

What can you do to get prepared emergency?

  • Be informed – know what to do before, during and after an emergency.
  • Make a plan – prepare, plan and stay informed on different types of emergencies.
  • Build a kit – Build a family kits with basic disaster survival supplies.
  • Get involved  - Volunteer for the Medical Reserve Corps.
  • Visit http://www.ready.gov/  to develop a family and pet emergency plans and for suggested survival kit supply lists.




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