What Is A POD?

A Point of Dispensing (POD) site is a location that provides free medications, vaccinations, and medical supplies to a large community during a public health emergency, such as a pandemic influenza or bioterrorism. POD sites will be activated in order to provide medication and/or medical supplies to a healthy community prior to the onset of illness in order to decrease illness and prevent death.

When a disease outbreak occurs in a community, the private health care system is often busy taking care of those who are most ill. The public health department helps doctors in clinics and hospitals by dispensing medicine to healthy people to prevent illness.

Carver County Public Health will provide information about when and where to report to a POD on our website, via social media, radio, television and newspaper.  

Who Might Have To Go To A POD During A Public Health Emergency?

Anyone who is not showing symptoms of illness and has been potentially been exposed to the agent or disease causing the public health emergency will be able to receive antibiotics, vaccine, or medical supplies at a POD. PODs are designed to provide medications or medical supplies that will PREVENT a healthy individual from becoming sick. Persons who are already sick with the disease will not be able to seek treatment at a POD. Those persons who are ill and require treatment will have to be seen at their primary care doctor’s office or the hospital.

POD PreCheck: Online Screening Tool

The Minnesota Department of Health has developed an online screening tool for residents to complete prior to arriving at a POD. This screening tool is designed to help you identify the best medicine to keep you and your loved ones healthy during a widespread anthrax emergency. One screening form for each individual you are taking medication for is required to receive medication at a POD.

What is a Closed POD?

There are open and closed PODs for distribution of medication, and the majority of the population would receive medication at an open POD. A closed POD is a location operated by a private organization that distributes medicine or medical supplies to a specific group of people, such as that organization’s staff, staff family members, and/or clients. Clients can include residential clients, patients of a medical facility, guests at a hotel, students, parishioners, inmates, etc. Closed PODs are NOT open to the public-at-large and they cannot charge for the medication they provide.

Being a Closed POD is beneficial in several ways. It is expected that in an emergency, medical providers, such as hospitals and clinics, will be overwhelmed. Closed PODs offer the ability to directly receive medication that will allow for continuity of business operations as well as minimize the impact of the public health emergency on staff, their families, and your clients. Closed PODs offer a level of safety and security customized to meet the organization’s needs. If your organization or agency is interested in becoming a Closed POD, email Sharon Heath, Public Health Program Specialist-Emergency Preparedness at for more information.