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Kroona: 40 percent of county fully vaccinated

Appointments still available for May 15 and 22 clinics

Just over 40 percent of Hamilton County’s population have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Tuesday. Public Health Administrator Shelby Kroona told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning that the county will likely fall short of the earlier estimate of 50 percent by June 1.

“I kept hoping that by the end of May we would reach 50 percent, but we will not make that goal. But we are ahead of the state at this point with 40.3 percent. The whole state is at 36.5 percent,” she said.

As of Tuesday, a total of 12, 400 doses of vaccine have been administered. Of that total, 926 people have received the first of two doses, while 5,467 have received two doses. A total of 552 people have received the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, for a total of 6,019 fully vaccinated people.

“I want people to understand that we have two Saturday left — May 15 and 22 — when we still continue to offer large clinics. These are being held at Webster City Middle School,” she said.

Appointments are still available at both clinics for those who may wish to begin the two-dose Moderna vaccine. Call 832-9565 to make an appointment.

After May, the clinics will move from Saturday to Wednesday and will be held at the health department. Throughout June, Kroona said the clinics would offer both the J&J one-dose shot and Moderna vaccine at each clinic.

“We will take walk-ins on Wednesday afternoons from 3:30 to 5 p.m.,” she said.

The health department will also be doing mobile clinics in communities around the county. On Thursday, public health nurses will offer vaccine in both Stratford and Stanhope. Kroona encouraged those wanting appointments to call the health department, but walk-ins are welcome, as well. Both Moderna and J&J vaccines will be available.

Kroona said that Pfizer this week had applied for and been granted an amendment to their contract which would allow youths as young as 12 to receive the vaccine.

“We are hoping that the health department will sometime in June begin to receive the Pfizer vaccine but at this time we don’t know if we will get it,” she said, adding that the Pfizer vaccine would be a way to help boost the vaccination rate closer to the recommended 70 percent community rate.

Home COVID test kits are starting to appear on store shelves, she said.

“We’re starting to hear that people are using the kits,” she said. “That’s great, but if they test positive, they still need to follow the CDC guidelines and stay home for a minimum of ten days.”

Kroona said the CDC will likely soon be releasing new guidance on mask use and easing of restrictions as more people become vaccinated.

Volunteers have played an important role at the April vaccine clinics.

“We recorded a total of 538 volunteer hours. It takes 28 people to run a clinic that serves 500 people,” she said.

“We’re so thankful for those volunteers,” she said. “We would not have been able to vaccinate as many people as we have without them.”

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