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Posted on: January 25, 2021

Drive-through COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics For Seniors 70 and Older

Gloved hands of a nurse using a syringe to draw a dose Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

The first mass vaccination clinic for seniors 70 and older was held on Friday, January 22, where 563 vaccine doses were administered, using all available doses—a response that exceeded expectations. As with nearly everything related to COVID-19, challenges arose from the clinic, prompting a revised approach for future clinics. “I realized by 1 p.m. we needed to make extreme changes for the next clinic. By 2:30 p.m., the nurses at the clinic knew we did not have enough vaccine in our inventory to provide vaccination to all those who showed up. At that point, anyone in line who would not be able to receive the vaccine was informed and told we will notify the public when we can hold the next clinic,” disclosed Jane Glaser, Public Health executive director.

Responding to the challenges that emerged on Friday, Glaser outlined changes to future clinics, “we already have a new plan in place for the next clinic for this age group. The new plan allows public health to control the environment, vaccine, supplies, and attendees. As of right now, the next clinic for people over 70 is scheduled for February 12, 2021. Per the community’s request, the clinic will be a drive-through held in the Central Pavilion at CAM-PLEX. Our plan includes five teams of two nurses, each administering the vaccine along with providing the written record. Staff and volunteers will direct traffic, provide parking lot crowd control, and monitor entrance into the facility. Available doses will be carefully tracked, and we will not allow anyone to wait if they will not be receiving a vaccine.”

Those eligible to receive the vaccine will be broken into four groups, based on the first letter of their last name.

  • Those with a last name starting with A-F can get their vaccination from 9-11 a.m.
  • Last names starting with G-L are scheduled for 11 a.m-1 p.m.
  • Last names starting with M-R are scheduled for 1-3 p.m.
  • Last names starting with S-Z are scheduled for 3-5 p.m.

The available doses will be divided equally between the four groups. When the allotment of vaccines for a specific group is gone, no more vaccinations will be distributed for that group. “We do not want to see anyone turned away; however, the reality of the situation is that there simply may not be enough vaccine available to vaccinate everyone who wants the vaccine at that time. Please know, Public Health will continue to schedule clinics as we receive doses,” explained Glaser.

The clinic initially scheduled for February 19, 2021, at the Senior Center has been modified and will now also be offered as a drive-through at the Central Pavilion at CAM-PLEX. This clinic will only be available for those who received their first vaccination on January 22 and need their second dose. The clinic will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and use the same staggered schedule based on the last name, as outlined above. There will be sufficient doses for everyone to receive their second dose.

For those who receive a vaccination on February 12, a second drive-through clinic will be held on March 12 to administer the second dose. The clinic will follow the same schedule outlined for the February 12 clinic.

Please keep the following considerations in mind before arriving at the clinic:

  • Restrooms are available in the Central Pavilion and may require a lengthy walk to access; please plan accordingly.
  • Those who require supplemental oxygen should be prepared with enough oxygen to get through the line.
  • Please ensure you have enough fuel to wait in line.

Challenges in administering COVID-19 vaccinations are not unique to Campbell County, and every option explored by Public Health will include both benefits and obstacles. Public Health staff are proactively working to implement plans with the most significant number of benefits while mitigating as many obstacles as possible. The most substantial challenge Public Health faces is the number of available doses of the vaccine. Acknowledging this particular challenge, Glaser noted, “Public Health will continue to do everything we can to get vaccinations to those who want one. We continue to ask the public to be patient as some things are simply beyond our control, challenges are frustrating for all of us.” Additional clinics will be scheduled as more doses become available.

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