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Face-off: The Nassau County MRC Takes on H1N1 at Professional Ice Hockey Game

March 29, 2010

The Nassau County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) unit comprises more than 600 volunteers and is housed within the Nassau County (NY) Department of Health. H1N1 vaccinations became a top priority for the heavily populated county of Nassau, located within close proximity to New York City. Luckily, the Nassau County MRC unit was prepared to deliver vaccinations to the public. Unit coordinator, Kevin O’Hara, says the unit wanted to host a point of dispensing (POD) at a professional sporting event after much time was spent conducting PODs for schools, local government, and public utilities.

In February 2010, the professional National Hockey League team, the NY Islanders, were playing the Nashville Predators at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, a huge arena that seats 15,000 people. The Coliseum was hosting more than just a hockey game, another competition was present at the game too—the Nassau MRC unit versus H1N1.

The Nassau MRC unit set up a POD at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum during the professional hockey game as a way to provide outreach to the public during a large event. Throughout the game, 14 MRC volunteers provided H1N1 vaccinations to 42 people, including the NY Islanders announcer. In addition, “Sparky” the Islanders mascot, showed his H1N1 vaccination support by walking around the arena sporting a band-aid on his arm.

The unit advertised the POD through channels with public medical service and the NY Islanders, who were very receptive to the idea. The ability to advertise through the hockey team has helped to build support and a partnership with not only the Islanders, but with the Nassau Coliseum as well. This partnership will be beneficial for future POD events.

 Game Points
Islanders:  4     Predators:  3
MRC:  42        H1N1: 0


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