As of Friday, Jan. 8, Wayne County Health Department will start making appointments for 1,000 residents who are 80-plus, first responders or healthcare workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in January.
Registration begins at 9 a.m. Friday at https://ourshot.in.gov. Anyone who qualifies for the vaccine and is having difficulties going online to schedule can call 211 for assistance.
The local health department will have 200 doses available in the first week, with 400 more doses during the week of Jan. 18, and 400 more starting Jan. 25.
Walk-ins will not be able to be accommodated while supplies are very limited.
The vaccine will be available starting Monday to those 80 and older, as well as licensed and unlicensed healthcare workers and first responders who have face-to-face interactions with patients or infectious material or work in a public-facing position that requires in-person contact.
A photo ID, proof of age, or verification of current employment as a healthcare worker or first responder in Indiana will be require to receive the vaccine.
Wayne County’s COVID Vaccine Clinic will use the south entrance of the former Elder-Beerman store, 601 E. Main St., Richmond.
The county health department will continue to operate a COVID testing site from the same building, but each function takes place in separate areas, and they each have their own entrances and exits.
“This is the moment we have been all working so hard to get to since March,” said Dr. David Jetmore, the county’s health officer, in a news release. “This is a way we finally can begin to see a difference in the way the virus effects our community. And by bringing in our most at risk, our most fragile in our community, we can save lives. I am proud to be a part of it.”
Christine Stinson, the health department’s executive director, said she was near tears as she worked on an announcement that more vaccines are on the way.
“I am not sure anyone other than a fellow public health practitioner could understand the raw emotions I am feeling right now,” Stinson said. “It is a mixture of joy, hope, and sheer exhaustion. But most of all it is happiness and pride to be a part of this community. I have been able to partner with a wonderful group of people who continue to work toward a safe and healthy Wayne County.”
Because of limited supply, vaccine is available by appointment only to those currently eligible as determined by Indiana Department of Health. That complete list is posted at https://ourshot.in.gov
Shots are offered at no cost to the individual, but insurance may be charged an administration fee. Individuals should bring a photo ID and an insurance card if they have one.
Two vaccines, developed by Pfizer and Moderna, are currently available. Each requires two doses administered at least 21 days apart for the Pfizer vaccine and 28 days apart for the Moderna vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after the second vaccination.
The Wayne County Health Department’s Covid-19 Vaccine Clinic will only have Moderna available.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the vaccines under an Emergency Use Authorization, meaning the vaccines must be proven safe and effective in the same way that all medications and devices must be. The vaccines have been found in trials to be 94 percent to 95 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 infections in participants.
Side effects are temporary and are generally mild, including fatigue, headache and sometimes fever, Stinson said.
As more vaccine become available to the health department, more appointments will become available, and more volunteers will be needed for medical and non-medical roles. For more information on becoming involved, contact Dan Burk, WCHD’s emergency preparedness coordinator, at email@example.com.
People who have been vaccinated might still be able to infect others, so even those who are vaccinated should continue wearing a mask and quarantining if they are a close contact of a positive case.
In the meantime, Stinson reminds residents the best ways to protect themselves and others are to:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Stay home when you’re sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces