Fayette County Public Health (FCPH) has received the first shipment of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. From that shipment, Lori Blackburn of Fayette County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) was the first person to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at FCPH.
Vaccinations began on Wednesday with priority group 1A. Other than personnel from the Fayette County EMS, the group included Jefferson Township EMS and MedFlight.
FCPH Public Information Officer Missy Smith explained, “Our initial shipment contained 100 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. We received it (Tuesday) and were able to coordinate with local EMS to vaccinate 20 first responders (Wednesday) morning. We are being strategic in scheduling due to the fact that each vial of vaccine contains 10 doses, and once the vial is punctured, the vaccine must be used within 6 hours. We do not want to waste a single dose.”
According to Smith, the process went smoothly thanks to the planning and coordination of the FCPH COVID-19 response team.
“The nurses who gave the initial vaccinations are some of our staff members who have been conducting case investigations and contact tracing nonstop since the pandemic began. They know how this virus has been affecting people and families in our community. It was an emotional day (and a hopeful day) as we got a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel,” wrote Smith via email. “The individuals who are in group 1A have been great about working with us and patient as we navigate the logistics of this new phase of the pandemic.”
Rod List, director of the Fayette County EMS, said, “We’re very thankful and blessed that we’re able to access and give the vaccine. We’re offering it to all our staff — it’s not mandatory, but it’s available to them. We did a few today, and then next week we should have all the (EMS) people who wanted the vaccine to have had their first dose. We’re very thankful for the Fayette County Public Health department, all their hard work that they’ve done to get the vaccine and to get that out among all the EMS providers in the county and Medflight. We’re making sure we get all the frontline people taken care of to take care of everybody else.”
Smith explained that Megan Batson, the emergency preparedness coordinator, is in contact with those who fall in priority group 1A to continue scheduling vaccinations for those who are interested.
“The response has been enthusiastic,” wrote Smith. “We will continue next week with the remainder of the initial allotment. We haven’t heard when we will receive our next shipment. We also haven’t been given information beyond priority group 1A, but we will update the public every step of the way. We will be adding information about the vaccine, including myths and facts and frequently asked questions, to our website in the coming weeks.”
FCPH officials encourage everyone to continue to wash their hands, stay six feet apart, wear a mask, stay home when sick and to keep social circles small. For updates, follow the FCPH Facebook page, “Fayette County Public Health-OHIO,” or its website, www.faycohd.org.
More information about local vaccinations and other priority groups will be shared as it becomes available.
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.