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Kroona: Keep those second appointments

Mass COVID-19 vaccine clinics continue

Hamilton County health officials gave an update on the progress of its COVID-10 vaccine program Tuesday during the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Shelby Kroona, public health administrator, told the board that as of Tuesday, 4,390 residents of Hamilton County have received at least 1 dose of the vaccine.

The health department has delivered 4,009 of those doses, according to Kroona, and the other 381 people have found the vaccine outside of the county.

“We have 2,418 people who have completed the two-dose series and 170 who have completed the one-doses series,” she said. Twenty-three percent of the Hamilton County population have completed the two-dose series.

The mass clinics will continue Saturdays at Briggs Woods Conference Center until May, she said. In May, the clinics will move to the Webster City Middle School.

“The large Saturday clinics is the best and the most effective way to get the vaccine out,” she said.

Kroona said one thing she’s encountered is people who want to cancel or reschedule their second dose.

“We receive a vaccine allocation, there are prime doses and booster doses. When we are given 300 doses for a week, automatically, we’re sent another 300 booster doses for those people who received their vaccine on a specific day,” she said.

When residents call and cancel, the health department doesn’t waste that dose. That missed dose is then given to someone else.

“So now we have two people looking for a second dose of vaccine,” she said. “It’s very important when you get that first shot to keep the appointment for the second dose.”

The administrator said her department has received calls about clinics scheduled Easter weekend or Mother’s Day weekend, or the person has a birthday on the day of the clinic. Rescheduling and moving appointments around has proven to be difficult for her staff, Kroona said.

“Vaccine is time sensitive. When a vial is opened, we have six hours to deliver all the doses from that vial,” she said. “We can’t guarantee that when you are ready or choose to have your second dose that we will have a vaccine for you.

“Please keep those appointments and get the second dose on schedule,” she said.

Kroona said she’s also heard that people are afraid of the potential side effects with the second dose. She said side effects are limited and may last up to 12 hours, but a very small percentage of the population will have side effects.

“The vast majority of people have no side effects other than maybe a sore arm and slight fever,” she said.

The one-dose series, which is the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, is being targeted towards manufacturing in the ag industries, specifically meat processing plants.

Kroona encouraged local residents not to hold out for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine as she is not certain when or if the county will receive an allotment.

“You may have to drive some miles or it could be mid-summer or fall before Johnson and Johnson is freed up for the general population,” she said.

Kroona reminded the supervisors that on April 5, as announced by Gov. Kim Reynolds, the vaccine would be available to anyone who wants it. She said her department would begin to book appointments in April by phone. Those wishing to book appointments can call the health department at 832-9565. She cautioned that people might still have to wait, depending upon whether the allotment of vaccine is increased.

“So remember, we get 300 doses. We’re earmarking 125 doses every weekend for business and manufacturing. So that leaves a small amount for the general population,” she said.

Kroona explained that many of the business and manufacturing appointments had been prearranged and they will continue to be honored.

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