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Vaccine program back on track post-winter storm

by Cassidy Kendall | February 22, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.
Volunteers give vaccinations Tuesday, Feb. 2, during a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Garland County Fairgrounds. - Photo by Richard Rasmussen of The Sentinel-Record

With the winter storm leaving most in the county "snowed in" over the past week, the COVID-19 vaccination program was halted, but now that the snow is melting away, the county health officer said he expects to make up for lost time this week.

"Probably the biggest event that I'm aware of is we were really planning on a large vaccination clinic on (Feb. 16) at the fairgrounds," County Health Officer Dr. Gene Shelby said. "I think that they had at least 1,000 doses and they had things coordinated with the volunteers. ... It was a hope that it was really going to ramp up this (last) week, but of course, all that had to be postponed.

"But I think, based upon our call on (Feb. 15), it seems like that there was going to be a lot more vaccine available this coming week. Cody Turner, who's the coordinator for the vaccines in the county, was saying potentially we might be able to vaccinate, or use up to 5,000 doses (this) week. Of course, some of it includes second doses, but that also includes a pretty large number for first doses. All this stuff is subject to change in uncertainty, but they seem confident that that would be able to take place (this) week if the stars align properly."

Fortunately, the 1,000 doses to be administered Feb. 16 had not yet been thawed, so they were able to be preserved and used this week, Shelby said.

"With the weather, it may also have slowed down the transport and distribution of the vaccines, but they seem pretty hopeful that there will be a pretty significant distribution of vaccines given (this) week," he said. "Hopefully we'll be able to make up for the losses from (last) week. Things can happen, but I think (this) week is going to be a really good week for vaccinations."


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