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Center for Public Health Preparedness

Working in a Point of Dispensing (POD)

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There are a number of situations where local public health departments might need to mobilize a point of distribution (POD) to dispense medication or vaccinate a large group of people. "Working in a POD" provides you with an understanding of what a POD is, how it operates, and what functional roles you may be assigned as a volunteer serving in a POD.


This course is intended for anyone who might be asked to work in a public health POD, including public health staff members. This might also include members of the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), or other volunteers.


After completing this course, you will be able to describe:

  • The purpose of a POD
  • The general process flow of a public health POD
  • How POD operations function within the National Incident Management System (NIMS) structure and Incident Command System (ICS) chain of command
  • How public health POD operations will function in collaboration with first responders and other community-based agencies utilizing the ICS structure
  • How public health POD operations will be activated
  • Emergency response functional roles within a typical public health POD operation


Originally launched October 2006, and updated January 2015.

Technical Requirements

This course is built to XHTML 1.1 specifications. A modern web browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox is required to view the pages.


It is estimated that this course takes about 1 hour to complete.


This course is free and open to the public.


This course is based on training developed by Dr. Kristine Qureshi for the Nassau County (NY) MRC. Thanks to all the individuals who took time to review this course.


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