California county to hold bioterror clinic simulaiton

California’s Ventura County Public Health Department recently announced plans to hold simultaneous flu clinics at three sites on November 10 as part of its plan to prepare for a possible bioterrorist attack or a major infectious disease outbreak.

Diane Dobbins, manager of the emergency preparedness office at the public health department, told that the clinics that will double as disaster drill sites will be similar to the mass swine flu vaccination events held last year.

“All of those sites were done one at a time,” Dobbins said, according to “If we had a bio-terrorism event, we would have to activate multiple sites at the same time.”

The three clinics will be open from noon to 4 p.m. Those who attend will receive a free flu shot. The event’s planners are expecting at least 1,000 people to show up at each site throughout the day. Estimates are that 200 to 300 people will be involved in running the drill.

During the drill, public health officials will be working with an internet-based emergency operations program. Clinic site staff will be able to use the system to communicate directly with operations centers located at area colleges, which will then communicate directly to the emergency center at the county health department.