"In the event of a bioterrorist attack or the outbreak of a naturally occurring disease, communities may be faced with the need to administer mass prophylaxis to their citizens. The goal will be twofold: to administer the appropriate antibiotic or vaccine to everyone who needs it in time to protect them from becoming infected, and to limit hospital admissions to those who are symptomatic and in need of treatment. Developing the capability for such a response is a major challenge for local health systems and for the communities they serve."
Bioterrorism and Health System Preparedness, Issue Brief No. 10
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: http://www.ahrq.gov/