TOP STORY OF THE DAY, brought to you free by WICU: Clay County 4-H Fairgrounds to host COVID-19 vaccination center
Local health officials confirmed Monday the COVID-19 vaccine would be available by appointment only through a clinic set up at the Clay County 4-H Fairgrounds Wednesday through Saturday, starting this week.
Clay County Health Nurse Kim Hyatt said only individuals with confirmed appointments through the Indiana State Department of Health are eligible to participate in the clinic.
“Appointments are booked for the amount of vaccine we are receiving,” said Hyatt. “If they aren’t registered, we won’t have the vaccine for them.”
In the future, the vaccine is supposed to be shipped weekly to the county as it becomes available. At this time, only first responders, healthcare workers, and residents over the age of 80 were booked for vaccination appointments.
“Hopefully, it will get better,” said Hyatt about the public’s access to the vaccine in the coming months.
The ISDH has sent 200 vaccines for the clinic, enough for the 100 appointments scheduled this week and 100 next week. The vaccine consists of two doses, and the second appointment will be automatically scheduled that day (for 28 days later). Officials said ISDH would privately share COVID-19 health information and provide reminders about the individual’s second appointment.
As the county health department continues to receive the vaccine, residents who need the second dose will be factored into the ongoing supply.
Although all of the appointments are currently filled for this clinic, eligible Hoosiers can check on and schedule a future vaccination appointment online (https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/vaccine) or by calling 2-1-1, if they do not have computer access or need assistance registering.
What is a POD?
A Point Of Distribution (POD) is a mass-dispensing site, located anywhere needed, capable of quickly providing medications/vaccinations/supplies to protect an entire community from potential bacterial/biological threats, epidemics, or disasters within a target goal of 48 hours.
Clay County Health Department has been training for a health crisis requiring dispersal of medication en masse for years.
On March 7, 2020, Clay County Health Department’s Emergency Planning Coordinator Tom Champion helped organize a POD training at Clay City High School. The exercise proved vital as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) was just beginning to spread across the world.
“When you find mistakes or problems, no matter how big or small, I welcome that,” said Champion, about a few small problems discovered during the event. “That’s how we learn. Any time you can identify a mistake, you have the opportunity to fix that mistake. That way, you fix problems before they become a problem in the real world, and make things better.”
Fast forward to the current “real-world” application of a POD to disperse the COVID-19 vaccine. Champion provided a planning walk-through Monday evening with local officials to ensure the current setup is ready this week.
“The more you perform an actual setup of something like this, the better the plan gets, the better the design works,” said Champion, who admits a problem or two is almost sure to pop up during the upcoming clinic. “That’s why you don’t buy a fire extinguisher when the fire breaks out. You plan.”
Champion admits the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for many people, including those on the frontlines or behind the scenes. Some communities are just now beginning to focus on what to do, while Champion is preparing for the next “what if?”
“We are going to do the best with what we got,” said Champion, who admits now is the time to plan for the next phase of this pandemic, “I need to start planning right now. This is only the first step in this process. We need to have another, now.”