LSU National Center for Biomedical Research and Training Partners with Louisiana Public Health Agencies to Assist in COVID-19 Vaccine Planning
BATON ROUGE – As Louisiana continues to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine throughout the state, one LSU department has utilized its experience in biological events and tactical training to help state agencies with the most important aspects of their plans.
The LSU National Center for Biomedical Research and Training/Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education, or LSU NCBRT/ACE, is a nationally recognized center for emergency preparedness that provides training for first responders around the country. One of its areas of expertise is preparing for, responding to and recovering from large-scale biological events, and LSU NCBRT/ACE subject matter experts have years of experience with public health, intricate logistical training and emergency management.
When the pandemic began, LSU NCBRT/ACE worked quickly to develop online resources that address COVID-19 preparedness and response, including Zoom courses, podcasts, an e-Learning Moodle platform and more.
Since the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, LSU NCBRT/ACE has been providing technical assistance and guidance to the Louisiana Department of Health and the Louisiana Office of Public Health.
“LSU NCBRT/ACE’s dedication to service and strong work ethic combined with creative thinking was exactly what was needed for this project,” said OPH Immunization Program Director Stacy Hall. “They have worked closely with OPH on the development of its initial COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for Jurisdiction Operations, a central document that each state put together to layout its operational, tactical and communicative vaccination plans.”
Additionally, LSU NCBRT/ACE staff have participated in a multi-agency COVID-19 communications workgroup and have been working with OPH to produce videos that can help providers enroll in the vaccine distribution process. Currently, LSU NCBRT/ACE is working on a video that providers can show to vaccine recipients during their 15-minute post-vaccination observation period that highlights best practices and important information for individuals who have received their shots.
LSU NCBRT/ACE has also conducted two large-scale virtual tabletop exercises with members from LDH, OPH, the Louisiana National Guard, the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and other important stakeholders to walk through scenarios that could hinder the vaccination effort, such as hurricanes and power outages, transportation issues and other unexpected challenges. These exercises also helped identify the roles of each office in the distribution process and served as an opportunity for different departments to make or strengthen connections.
“These exercises were important for state agencies because they got people thinking about all the different types of challenges that may come up during a mass vaccination event,” said Jerry Monier, LSU NCBRT/ACE’s Associate Director for Research and Development and leader for the vaccination collaboration project. “Our team was happy to lend its expertise and advice in order to ensure that this process runs as quickly and effectively as possible.”
In his visit to the White House in December 2020, Governor John Bel Edwards specifically mentioned LSU NCBRT/ACE’s tabletop exercises as an important tool for the state’s collaborative process of distribution and immunization, noting that the exercises helped the state identify and address logistical or communication gaps in the process.
“LSU NCBRT is an invaluable team member in Louisiana’s COVID-19 successful vaccine response,” Hall said. “Their subject matter experts truly are experts but were still approachable and collaborative, and they worked so effectively with members of our team.”
About LSU NCBRT/ACE
LSU NCBRT/ACE is a nationally recognized center for emergency preparedness and response training located at Louisiana State University’s flagship campus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We provide mobile training to both the national and international emergency response community. LSU NCBRT/ACE has expertise in research, development and delivery of training in the areas of specialized law enforcement operations; biological incident response; food and agriculture safety and security; school safety; and instructional design and technique. For more information on LSU NCBRT/ACE’s courses and resources, please visit ncbrt.lsu.edu.