A Facebook live round table discussion March 2 was brought together representatives from Clarke County Hospital, Clarke County Public Health and Clarke County Emergency Management to share the plans and new vaccine information for Clarke County residents.
There have been 20 deaths in county total according to Brian Evans, Clarke County Hospital CEO. 2,165 doses of the Moderna vaccine have been administered in the county since December. This number is excluding the vaccinations HyVee has done as they are part of a federal program.
Hy-Vee has Moderna vaccines available and individuals can sign up with them to get vaccinated at the pharmacy. The hospital has purchased a freezer that is to be used to hold the Pfizter vaccine. No Pfitzer vaccine have been allocated to Clarke County yet but the hospital is ready for it.
Tier one was all law enforcement, educators and first responders. That tier is now done and the county has moved on to tier two, which is manufacturers and agricultural workers.
At the end of January Clarke County Hospital made a list of all individuals 65 and older who wanted vaccinations. The list goes in order of when individuals signed up either by email, website or phone and they are working their way through that list.
330 individuals over the age of 65 in February. 100 doses of the vaccine have been allocated for this week and another 100 are allocated for next week for those individuals on the hospitals list.
“About a month ago we held a large mass vaccination clinic at the Osceola Volunteer Fire Department where we vaccinated a large portion of Clarke School District staff as well as Murray School District staff. They will be coming back later this week for their booster,” said Holly Rash, Clarke County Public Health Administrator. “We also held many vaccine clinics for people who are child care providers and those that receive direct independent care in home settings and those who work in dentists’ office clinics, chiropractors and things like that.”
Clarke County Public Health received 1,100 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Tuesday so another large vaccination clinic will be held later in the week at Osceola Foods to get those employees vaccinated. The hospital and emergency management will also be helping conduct that mass vaccination. March 9 another mass vaccination was held for other businesses in tier two.
“Moderna and Pfitzer are both MR NA viruses. Moderna is given at 28 day intervals and Pfitzer is given at 21 day intervals,” said Dr. Bob Weissinger, Clarke County Hospital Chief of Medicine. “The exciting news is that J&J, which is a viral vector vaccine is a one time dose. The caveat with that, and the reason it’s being used with the younger age group, is that Moderna and Pfizter have been proven to be more efficacious for the 65 and older group. But they all are working very well.”
Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine have shown in their studies that it eliminates significant illness and hospitalizations and there have been no reported deaths as a result of COVID after reeving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. With the new shipment of Johnson & Johnson vaccines it will free up more doses of the Moderna vaccines for those 65 and older because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will only be used for the tier two group. The state has advised only the Moderna and Pfitzer be used for the 65 and older group.
Clarke County Emergency Management has been heavily involved during the pandemic in moving PPE through the local supply chain. Now that PPE is not as big of a concern, emergency management has been working to get information out quickly though Facebook and the Alert Iowa System and helping facilitate mass vaccination clinics.
“We have the capacity at the hospital to administer over 1,000 doses a week. We could hit 1,200 doses a week at capacity. for the 65′s and older if we have the vaccine,” said Evans. “One of the things that the state watches very closely when they allocate the doses is how fast you use them. The expectation is for them to be used within seven days. In February, the week we got them we used them all up.”