TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – U.S. Airmen at Travis Air Force Base facilitated a point of distribution inside an aircraft hangar to administer the yearly flu vaccine to base civilian and military personnel Jan. 14, 2021.
A POD is an organized way of efficiently distributing a vaccine to a large amount of personnel.
“Today’s POD was for the flu vaccine,” said Col. Bernard Van Pelt, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Squadron flight commander. “We are trying to vaccinate the remaining personnel assigned to Travis who haven’t received the flu vaccine yet.”
The influenza vaccine is a mandatory readiness item for active duty personnel. Van Pelt noted that more than 50 percent of the base population had already been vaccinated before Thursday, but more Airmen needed the vaccine as quickly as possible.
“The PODs are manned by medical personnel to administer the flu shot and access patient’s files to log who has received the shot,” Van Pelt said. “Those who volunteered from other units on the base worked as manpower to help guide people and keep the lines moving smoothly.”
Patients who received the flu vaccine at the POD left surprised by its efficiency.
“My experience during the POD was great; everything was easy to understand and turned out to be an effortless process,” said Airman 1st Class Tyler Burch, 60 Communications Squadron client systems technician. “The time it took me to sign in and sign out was only about three minutes, and for how many people were in there, I was pretty surprised.”
Team Travis executed the mass inoculation for the first time inside their C-17 Globemaster III dual-bay hangar to accommodate the large numbers of personnel.
“I personally believe this is the most effective way to distribute vaccines to a large group of people in a reasonable amount of time,” said Burch.
While the POD is usually held at the base gym, according to Van Pelt, the gym’s normal capacity in a day only ranges from 150 to 300 patients; this venue change increased the amount of patients seen to more than 1,200.
“Finding the best way to distribute vaccines is incredibly important for the readiness of our Airmen, especially now with this pandemic,” Van Pelt said. “Everyone is trying to figure out the best way to get shots in arms when the COVID vaccine becomes more readily available, and when that day comes, we will be ready.”