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San Francisco

Named as Model Practice for Helping Organizations Dispense Antibiotics

San Francisco public health officials and the business community are discovering the mutual benefits of partnering to get pills to people. Both sides of this partnership have something unique to offer and also to gain in this relationship. For example, when local businesses dispense antibiotics to employees and their families, the number of people who will report to community Points of Dispensing (PODs) can be significantly reduced. This relieves some of the burden on PODs and offers businesses the opportunity to protect their employees and maintain continuity of operations.


To see the comprehensive toolkit, click here.

Emergency Mass Prophylaxis Clinic Planning

Emergency Mass Prophylaxis Plan

The Emergency Mass Prophylaxis Plan is the citywide plan for large-scale antibiotic or vaccine dispensing in the rare event of an infectious disease emergency. The San Francisco Department of Public Health is responsible for creating and maintaining this plan. Emergencies of this magnitude would include bioterrorism attacks through things like anthrax or smallpox and naturally occurring disease epidemics like pandemic influenza or meningococcal disease.


Through the Infectious Disease Emergency Response (IDER) Plan, our emergency preparedness efforts include the coordination of potential Point of Dispensing (POD) sites for giving antibiotic or vaccinations for the overall population, the recruitment and training of staff for clinics, the collaboration with community groups and other city agencies, and the creation of appropriate medical screening tools and models.



Point of Dispensing (POD) Sites

During a Health Emergency, PODs, or Points of Dispensing, are places where large populations can receive medications or shots very quickly. PODs will be open to the public and all antibiotics and vaccines that are offered in response to the emergency will be free. PODs will be located throughout San Francisco to provide accessibility for every community. In an emergency, media outlets and government agencies will release POD locations and hours of operations.


San Francisco has been working with surrounding Bay Area counties to ensure that our dispensing practices are consistent with those around us. serves as a place where people can get information about training in a pre-event situation, information about PODs and about getting medication during an emergency.



Partners in Planning for Infectious Disease Emergencies

Planning for rare bioterrorism events involves communicating and coordinating with many partners. Many organizations (large corporations, all hospitals, long-term care facilities, universities and others) have volunteered to dispense antibiotics to their own employees. These organizations are called "Push Partners," because they have offered to help us "push" medications to the community. They are also called Closed PODs, because they are "closed" to the general public.


If your organization is interested in helping to dispense antibiotics in an emergency, there is a Dispensing Partner Registration Form to complete at If your organization is interested in learning more how to be a dispensing partner, consult the informational materials available at the San Francisco Department of Public Health produced


Other partners in planning include other Bay Area Counties, other agencies in San Francisco, state and federal agencies, and public safety organizations.



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