Bucks buys inflatable pharmacies

    Bucks County is buying new equipment to control crowding and contagion the next time there’s an outbreak of flu.

    Bucks County is buying new equipment to control crowding and contagion the next time there’s an outbreak of flu.
    (Photo: A smaller model of the drive through pharmacy purchased by Bucks County / Courtesy EMS Innovations)

    When H1N1 hit, the demand for flu shots swamped some local health departments. Bucks County has purchased 10 inflatable, drive-through tents so health workers can dole out vaccines and treatment without asking patients to leave their vehicle.

    Dr. David Damsker leads the health department.

    Damsker: Keeping people within their own cars, negates the problem of having thousands of people lining up, standing, coughing and sneezing on each other. It really keeps that contagion of that disease within that car within that family.

    A spokesman for the tent maker – EMS Innovations – says the inflatable pharmacies have also been used as ancillary emergency rooms.

    Doctors examine patients in the makeshift ER first, then send just the sickest patients into the hospital.

    The county will use federal grants to pay for about $700,000 in new equipment, including the tents and some storage facilities.

    Damsker says the tents are good preparation for other health emergencies too.

    Damsker:
    If we had a release of anthrax or even a biological release of something that’s natural. We have a way of distributing antibiotics and not just vaccine. There’s several uses to this it doesn’t just have to be for a swine flu.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.