Brookings County holds first “POD” mass COVID-19 vaccination event in the state


BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — Brookings County hosted a mass COVID-19 vaccination event on Thursday for people ages 65 and up at the Swiftel Center.

The Brookings County Pandemic Planning and Coordination Committee (PPCC) hosted the mass COVID-19 vaccination center, also referred to as a “point of dispensing” or “POD.” Brookings deputy fire chief Pete Bolzer serves as the POD manager. He says this is something the committee has been planning for many years.

“Well, the idea was always there,” Bolzer said. “The PODs, the point of dispensing, they’re set up through the state department of health and the federal government. The PODs resulted with the H1N1 pandemic. That’s why they were formed. That’s why we developed our plans and basically trained, continually trained since that time, for situations such as these.”

This is the first official POD activation in the state of South Dakota; however, there have been some smaller events held in the state.

“Nationally in our plan, we’re set up to be able to treat or vaccinate 50,000 people in a 48-hour period. Today, our goal and our objective is to vaccinate 1,000 people in eight hours,” Bolzer said.

Last September, the city of Brookings took strict action against the pandemic, issuing a mask mandate. Now, this makes today’s event that much more special.

“I can’t even describe how proud that makes me,” Bolzer said. “The things we’ve done in this community and this county to address the pandemic. It’s good to be the leader in those areas.”

Brookings County will have a similar event for people to come back and get their second dose of the vaccine. Another mass vaccination event will be announced soon.

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