Oakland and BART to test emergency response capabilities

The Alameda County Public Health Department and Bay Area Rapid Transit will conduct a real-time, mass vaccination on BART's regional transit system in oakland to test for emergency readiness in the event of a bioattack or pandemic.

The first of its kind vaccination will be used to aid health officials in evaluating their ability to coordinate a scaled emergency response int he face of a public health crises requiring medical treatment for the general public.

Dr. Muntu Davis, Alameda County's public health officer, told InsideBayArea.com that the old method of dispensing vaccines at a set location needed to be updated and that by setting up at a major transit station like a BART stop, health agencies are able to go to the public.

"It's a case where we said let's flip this around and go to the place where people are," Davis told InsideBayArea.com. "This puts us ahead of the curve."

Health officials estimate that as many as 400 people per hour can be vaccinated by their staff of 10 public health nurses, who will set up in a non-fare area of a BART station to immunize patients with swine flu shots.

Davis also said that the emergency response model of going to the people can be used not only to dispense medication in the event of an attack but also to collect and dispense disaster relief items, including water and blankets.