More Washington County residents were expected to get the COVID-19 vaccine this week.
Three Rivers Public Health Department started on Phase 1B, which includes people 65 and older, people with high-risk medical conditions, first responders, utilities, homeless shelter staff, corrections staff, educators, funeral homes, grocery, food processing, transportation, U.S. Postal Service and public transit. The health department is focusing on signing up people who are 75 and older. They are working in a top down order as they wait for vaccines.
“To date, we have administered 1,311 COVID-19 vaccine within our clinics," said Terra Uhing executive director of Three Rivers Public Health Department. "Our issue is that we have so many individuals that want the COVID-19 vaccine and not enough vaccine to give.”
Three Rivers Public Health Department is partnering with Memorial Community Hospital and Health System (MCH) to administer the vaccine.
“MCH is a terrific community partner, and we are delighted to be able to work with them to bring more vaccinations to Washington County residents,” Uhing said. “We are very pleased with the interest from our 65-plus population in getting the vaccine. This is a population that is most at risk for COVID-19, so being able to get them vaccinated is a step in the right direction with the pandemic.”
MCH will be using the health department's wait list to contact individuals to schedule vaccination appointments. Individuals being vaccinated must commit to receiving both the first and second doses — with the second dose being administered approximately 28 days after the first dose.
“I am grateful and humbled that MCH can be a partner in bringing hope in the form of a vaccine to the residents of our communities. said Manuela Banner, president and CEO of MCH. “So many of our community members have spent months in social isolation and the availability of public vaccinations is a big step in bringing our community back to the activities that they have had to leave behind for so long.”
The health department will initially allocate 100 doses per week to MCH. There is a possibility that the weekly allocation will grow in the coming weeks of the state and federal supply increases.
MCH will be contacting residents for vaccinations in the order in which they registered for the wait list. Based on the amount of vaccine received, the process will take time so officials are asking for the community's patience.
Individuals 65 and older who want to be vaccinated and have not yet registered with the health department are encouraged to do so by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If individuals are unable to register online, they can contact the health department's dedicated sign-up phone number at 402-704-2247 and leave a voicemail.