Receiving Medicine During a Public Health Emergency

The Frederick County Health Department Office of Public Health Preparedness (PHP) is committed to protecting our community from emergencies that may require the public to need medicine. PHP has plans to distribute medication to all of Frederick County in case that is needed in a public health emergency. If you would like to know more about how this could happen during an actual public health emergency, please review the information below.

What should you do when you hear there has been a terrorist attack, large-scale national disaster, or any other large-scale emergency?

Tune into local radio or television stations, Frederick County Health Department’s websiReceiving Medicine during a Public Health Emergency - English - side 1te, or official social media sites.

In some emergencies, pharmacies, hospitals, and doctor’s offices will not have enough medicine for everyone who needs it. In this situation, the Strategic National Stockpile will be requested.

What is the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS)?

SNS is a large stockpile of medicines and medical supplies that the Administration for Strategic Preparedness & Response (ASPR) has in order to protect the American public in case of a large-scale public health emergency.

Who will distribute the SNS?

The Frederick County Health Department will distribute the SNS. We will set up a “medical” or “non-medical” clinic, depending on the type of emergency response.

What is a medical clinic?

A medical clinic is run by doctors, nurses, or other health care workers. A recent example of this model is a Frederick County Health Department COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic.

What can you expect to happen once the SNS has been requested and medical clinics have been set up?

  • You, your family, friends, and neighbors will be asked to go to one of the clinics. Picking up medicine for people who are not at the clinic will not be allowed.
  • There will be limited to no restrictions on how to travel to the clinics.

What can you expect at a medical clinic?

  • When you arrive, Health Department staff and instructional signs will direct you to where you need to go and what to do.
  • You will fill out a medical questionnaire that will be reviewed by a doctor or nurse. You will need to know:
    • Medications that are currently being takenReceiving Medicine during a Public Health Emergency - English - side 2
    • Allergies to medications
    • Weights of children
    • Medical conditions such as kidney or liver problems.
  • You will be able to ask the doctor or nurse medical questions.
  • No money will be needed.
  • Identification or documentation of your name and address MAY be required.
  • There will likely be long lines and large crowds, but everyone will receive their medication.

What is a non-medical clinic?

A non-medical clinic has NO doctors, nurses, or other health care workers. This is used when large numbers of people need to receive medicine in a short period of time.

What can you expect at a non-medical clinic?

  • You will be asked to send a head of household to pick up medications. This can be you, a trusted family member, friend, or neighbor. If you decide to be the head of household, you can represent your family, friends, and neighbors.
  • You will need to know basic medical information about the people you are representing.
    • Any allergies to medicines
    • Ages of children
    • If a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You or your head of household will be asked to go to a location near you. If you are unable to walk, ask a family member or neighbor to pick up the medicine for you. It is important to stay off the roads as much as possible. Too many people on the roads can cause traffic jams preventing emergency personnel from getting to an emergency.

What can you expect at a non-medical clinic?

  • No money, identification, or documentation will be required.
  • When you arrive, instructional signs and Health Department staff will direct you to where you need to go and what to do.
  • There will likely be long lines and large crowds; you might consider bringing food and water while you wait.
  • It is recommended but not required to bring a health information sheet for yourself and the people you represent. Include allergies, weights of children, and other special needs.
  • You will fill out a form for yourself and the other people you are representing about their allergies to medicines and medical conditions. Please note that if you or someone you represent have certain drug allergies or medical conditions, it may not be possible to give you medicine at this clinic. You or the person you represent should go to your health care provider or a follow up medical clinic.
  • No doctor, nurse, or health care worker will be available for questions or concerns. You will need to consult with your own health care provider.

You will be given medicine and written instructions on how to take the medication and how long to take it. You will need to take the medicine even if you do not feel sick.

What can you expect after either a medical or non-medical clinic?

Some people might be asked to return several days later to another clinic to receive more medicine. Those people will be notified and directed to a clinic to get the additional medicine. Stay tuned to the local radio and news stations or visit the Frederick County Health Department website.