Campbell County Public Health announced late today changes to how the organization intends to vaccinate those 70 and older against the novel coronavirus. The changes come after some in the community expressed frustration with the clinic held last Friday, Jan. 22, at the Campbell County Senior Center (County 17, Jan. 22).
According to the press release, the number of seniors who participated in last week’s clinic was significantly higher than what had been planned. The release notes that the exceptional response from those 70 and older came after a “lack-luster” response from those groups in Phase 1a of the Wyoming COVID-19 Vaccination Priorities.
Phase 1a included those who have regular potential exposure, exposure to people who are potentially positive, and residents and staff of long-term care facilities. Phase 1a generally included hospital and EMS staff, public health nurses, urgent care clinics, law enforcement, home healthcare providers, school nurses, medical and dental care staff, and laboratory staff.
Phase 1b, which includes those 70 and older, also includes fire, police, and other emergency response personnel, healthcare providers, K-12 education teachers and support staff, childcare service providers, food supply chain staff, and U.S. Postal Service and delivery service company employees.
According to the release, public health vaccinated 563 seniors last week during the Friday clinic. This used all available doses and also prompted the changes announced today.
“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,” said public health executive director Jane Glaser.
The next clinic for seniors 70 and older is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 12 at CAM-PLEX Central Pavilion. The clinic will be drive-through in nature and include five teams of two nurses administering the vaccine and providing vaccine recipients with written documentation. Additional staff and volunteers will direct traffic, provide parking lot crowd control, and monitor entrance to the building.
The release states, “Available doses will be carefully tracked and we will not allow anyone to wait if they will not be receiving a vaccine.”
Eligible vaccine recipients are being broken into four groups based upon the first letter of their last name and have four different times for vaccination:
- Last names starting with A-F from 9 to 11 a.m.
- Last names starting with G-L from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Last names starting with M-R from 1 to 3 p.m.
- Last names starting with S-Z from 3 to 5 p.m.
Available doses are going to be split evenly between the four alphabet groups and when the vaccines allotted to a particular group are exhausted, no more vaccinations will be distributed to 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,” Glaser said.
The Feb. 19 clinic which had been scheduled at the senior center for those seniors who received their first dose last Friday will be held on Feb. 19 at Central Pavilion as well. The same alphabet staggered scheduled established above will be used for that clinic.
Those who are vaccinated on Feb. 12 will receive their second dose on Mar. 12 using the same drive-through method and alphabet staggered schedule.
The release asks that those who plan to attend a drive-through vaccination clinic recognize that though restrooms are available in the Central Pavilion, use of those restrooms may require a lengthy walk and that those who require supplemental oxygen should be prepared with enough oxygen to get through the line.
Today’s release ends by recognizing that public health’s greatest challenge is simply the availability of vaccine and that there is currently more demand for the vaccine from the Phase 1b group than there is vaccine available.
The Wyoming Department of Health provides COVID-19 case, variant, death, testing, hospital and vaccine data online. The department also shares information about how the data can be interpreted. COVID-19 safety recommendations are available from the CDC.