As the United States’ COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues to gain momentum, maximizing the number of doses administered each day is a top priority for health departments and emergency management agencies. Mass vaccination sites that accommodate thousands of visitors per day pose logistical challenges, particularly when social distancing guidelines are in place. Variable message signs are often deployed at vaccination PODs to display time-sensitive information with high visibility.
We’ve gathered information from our emergency management and health department customers on the many ways they use InstAlert message signs to improve the efficiency of vaccination sites. Here are some of the most common use cases:
Displaying Operations and Registration Information
Minimize questions and confusion by sharing information about hours of operation, vaccine eligibility, and registration processes outside of vaccination sites. Using a remote management software like TraffiCloud® to remotely pre-schedule custom messages for specific days and times saves time. “The smart scheduling was probably the biggest selling point for me… that saves us a ton of time.” said Keenan Campbell, Director of the Bureau County, Illinois Emergency Management Agency. The ability to change messages remotely from any internet-connected device means that emergency managers and health department workers don’t have to spend time driving or walking to different sign locations just to change messages.
Variable message signs are also used to share safety reminders like mask requirements and social distancing guidelines, helping make sure that large vaccination sites with high volumes of pedestrian traffic don’t pose a major risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Guide Foot and Vehicle Traffic Around PODs
With thousands of people visiting vaccination sites each day, it’s vital to maintain a continuous flow of vehicles and pedestrians. Illuminated variable message signs that are mounted around eye level help people find their way, even at the largest sites. Our customers use InstAlert signs to mark designated areas and entrances for:
- COVID-19 testing
- Appointments for first vaccine doses
- Appointments for second vaccine doses
Brian Multerer, Public Safety Officer for Erie County (PA) Emergency Services, says that “Simple, concise messages are vital,” to keep operations running smoothly.
Reduce Crowding and Appointment Wait Times
As states move through priority and high-risk groups, many people in the general population are growing impatient while waiting for their turn to be vaccinated. A concern for many localities is the issue of people showing up at vaccination sites without an appointment. People ineligible for inoculation gather—sometimes by the dozens—at vaccination sites, causing unnecessary crowding that poses both security and health risks. A vaccination site in Prince William County, Virginia, deployed an InstAlert 24 message sign near the entrance displaying a multi-screen “Vaccination Only By Appointment, No Walk-ins Accepted” message to help solve this issue.
Health departments and emergency management agencies also use variable message signs to share instructions with patients waiting in line. Depending upon the state and vaccination location, those with scheduled appointments may need to have an ID or proof of state residency with them. Displaying this information on a variable message sign helps ensure that each patient has the necessary documents prepared before they reach the front of the line, helping the line move along faster.
Multi-Purpose Messaging During and After COVID-19
While many emergency management agencies and health departments purchased variable message signs to support their COVID-19 response efforts, they also see the signs as a long-term investment. EMAs and health departments use variable message signs for:
- Wildfire and natural disaster response
- Emergency preparedness
- Drive-thru flu vaccination clinics
- Directing traffic around large medical centers
Contact us today to learn more about how portable variable message signs can help with your messaging needs, now and after the pandemic.