Vaccine clinics on the move

Health department to use conference center for shot appointments

The saying goes that it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to vaccinate a county, according Shelby Kroona, administrator of Hamilton County Public Health.

Kroona offered an update of her department’s activities related to the COVID-19 pandemic Tuesday morning at the Board of Supervisors meeting at the courthouse.

She said there are some changes coming to the way the Public Health Department administers the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We’ll be retaining a larger portion of the vaccine allotment and we’ll be moving our vaccination clinics to Briggs Woods Conference Center.

The department can currently administer about 180 doses in an eight-hour shift at its offices.

“But we can do more with more space – give more vaccines in a smaller amount of time with more space,” she said.

She said the clinics will still be considered closed as those receiving vaccine will need to have an appointment.

The health department is still currently administering doses to those age 65 and older. She reminded people attending the clinics to bring along Medicare cards and insurance cards. But vaccine is still available for those who are not covered by insurance. Insurance and Medicare is billed an administration fee by the health department, Kroona said.

She advised people with vaccine appointments to wear short sleeved shirts under their coats or sweaters for an easier and quicker experience.

There is a 15-minute post-shot waiting period to be sure there are no ill effects. Those returning for the second dose should bring their vaccination card with them, she said. Those who have access to the internet and a printer, can print off the registration information to bring along with them, saving some time at the clinic, according to Kroona. Information will be available on Hamilton County Public Health Facebook page.

“People should arrive no more than 15 minutes before their scheduled appointment time,” she said.

Since all of the doses are scheduled, Kroona said that those without an appointment should not stop at a clinic as there will be no leftover vaccine doses.

“Currently, the vaccine vials hold 10 doses and we are always able to get an 11th dose out of the vial,” she said. “And we always schedule that 11th dose.”

Patients who have had COVID-19 must wait 90 days before getting the vaccine, she said.

A few statistics

As of Tuesday, there have been 41 deaths in Hamilton County and all have been age 65 and older, she told the supervisors.

“So you can see that our work getting the vaccine into the arms of those who are at the highest risk of bad outcomes is important,” she said. Fifty-one percent of the total doses have been give into the target range of 65 years and older.

To date, the health department has administered 2,874 doses of vaccine. Of that, 1,598 people have received the first dose and 638 have received the second doses. Those figures do not include the vaccine that’s been given to long term care residents.

“At the same time, we’re trying to balance this with some of the other tiers in 1B.”

Some members of law enforcement, fire departments and some teachers have received the vaccine.

Kroona said starting in May she hoped that open clinics could be held, but at this time, the vaccine availability is still very limited.


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