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Health Department to test plans for mass medication dispensing

September 29, 2014

Regional emergency response exercise to help improve planning

TACOMA, Wash. – A rapid response to dangerous diseases—natural epidemics or following a terrorist release of anthrax or other biological agents—can make the difference between life and death.

In the event of such an emergency, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has a plan to dispense to all Pierce County residents within 48 hours medications that would help prevent disease from a biological agent exposure.

On Oct. 1 and 2, the health department will put this plan to the test in a joint exercise with King, Snohomish and Kitsap counties and Washington State Department of Health. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, local hospitals and the County’s healthcare systems will assess the logistics of distributing and dispensing large quantities of medications.

In addition, the exercise will give planners a look at the key decision making, policy development, and communication capabilities the response requires. Activities will focus on communication and coordination and on the set-up of a public dispensing clinic in Lakewood.

Medical providers, Pierce County Medical Reserve Corps, local, county and state agencies have specific roles in the two-day exercise. Mass distributing and dispensing involves setting up public clinics, distributing to public pharmacies and to private and government agencies, and to distribute to their staff and families.

“In Pierce County, strong partnerships support our emergency planning and make sure the public can get the resources they need to protect their health,” said Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH, director of health.

Contacts: Edie Jeffers, Communications Manager, (253) 798-2853, (253) 405-6822,

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