ALBION — After jumping through some hoops in a hurry, Noble County officials have secured more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Moderna.
Beginning next week, Noble County can expect to see 500 weekly doses from the state, up from the 100 per week initially promised.
“Noble County is getting more doses of the vaccine,” Noble County Health Officer Dr. Terry Gaff said Wednesday. “We’re now expanding our clinic.”
Noble County held its first vaccine clinic open to those 80-and-older on Monday at the main branch of the Noble County Public Library in Albion. On Wednesday, the state also opened up the process to those 70 and older.
Officials said the initial clinic went well, with County Health Nurse Cheryl Brown scoring it a 9.5 out of 10, according to Gaff.
“Things went as well as possibly could be expected,” Gaff said.
Volunteers and health department staff started showing up at the clinic, located on the lower-level and accessed at the rear of the Albion library, around 8 a.m. Monday to get some quick training before the first appointments began at 9 a.m.
According to Gaff, 40 of the shots were administered to those who had made appointments via the state’s online registration system.
The next vaccine clinic will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, but the current allotment of 160 doses to be distributed that day have all been spoken for through the state’s registration system.
Gaff said some appointments have already been made for next week’s vaccine days at the library.
• Wednesday, from 12:30-5 p.m.;
• Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and
• Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Walk-ins will not be accepted at the vaccine clinic.
Noble County residents can log on to ourshot.in.gov to sign up for an appointment. Since many older people may not be skilled with computers, officials suggested that family members can log on to sign up for them as long as the person comes to their appointment with a photo ID to prove their identity.
Those arriving for vaccines at the library will want to drive to the rear of the building and enter through Door 6 at their scheduled time.
Once inside, they’ll be asked if they have an appointment then be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and checked for a face covering. Those who don’t have masks or have single-layer gaiters will either be asked to retrieve a mask or may be provided a disposable one.
After that, a person will move ahead to registration and get signed in for their vaccine. After being registered, they’ll make their way down a hall to the shot clinic where they will receive the first of two required doses.
After getting the shot, patients will be observed for 15 minutes to look for any reactions or complications, which are exceedingly rare but can potentially be serious. If a person clears their 15-minute waiting period with no ill effects, they’ll be signed up for their second appointment, which needs to be given approximately 28 days after the first dose.
Once a person has received both doses they are considered fully vaccinated and should have strong immunity to the virus. Vaccines in use in the U.S. are noted to have efficacy of 95% and up.
Getting those extra doses involved much more than simply asking for them, according to Gaff.
Tuesday morning, Noble County officials were told they could receive up to 500 doses per week. But to get those doses, local health officials had to come up with a scheduling plan which would account for all 500 of those doses to be utilized before they would expire. That plan had to be submitted to the state by 3 p.m. Tuesday.
In what Gaff called a team effort between health and emergency preparedness officials, the county was able to submit the plan on time.
The plan is required so none of the vaccine is wasted.
“We are on track to make sure every dose gets into an arm within a week,” Gaff said.
Noble County is receiving doses of the vaccine produced by Moderna. That vaccine can be kept at normal refrigeration as compared to a vaccine produced by Pfizer, which much be maintained at ultra-cold storage temperatures that Noble County doesn’t have the ability to maintain, Gaff said.
More information about the vaccines, their efficacy and safety and for information about the state’s ongoing vaccine plan, visit coronavirus.in.gov/vaccine.
Gaff said Noble County’s effort is looking for more volunteers to assist. A total of 13 volunteers are being utilized at each clinic session. Gaff said those who can administer the vaccine are in highest demand, but all volunteers are welcome.
Anyone interested in being a volunteer can contact Noble County Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Mick Newton at 636-2938.