DeKalb vaccinations

DeKalb County Health Nurse Cheryl Lynch, RN, and volunteer physician Dr. James Buchanan will help give DeKalb County’s first COVID-19 vaccinations Wednesday. Behind them is one of three vaccination booths set up at Middaugh Hall on the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Auburn. All appointments for shots have been filled for Wednesday and Jan. 20.

AUBURN — DeKalb County’s quota of COVID-19 vaccine has been increased from 150 doses per week to 500, county Health Officer Dr. Mark Souder said Tuesday.

Scheduling details for the extra shots are being worked out by lead county Health Nurse Cheryl Lynch and her nursing staff, Souder said.

“They are doing a fantastic job. They are both flexible and proactive,” Souder said about the county Health Department staff.

The county’s first COVID-19 vaccinations are scheduled to begin Wednesday at Middaugh Hall on the DeKalb County Fairgrounds, 708 S. Union St., Auburn.

Plans call for giving 150 shots on Wednesday and 150 more at the same time and place on Wednesday, Jan. 20. All appointments for shots are filled on both days.

Shots on Jan. 13 and 20 were made available to health care workers, first responders and residents over the age of 80. Lynch said earlier this week that she was hoping to expand the availability of shots later in January.

“We calculate that there should be around 1,600 to 1,800 residents over age 80 in DeKalb County,” Souder said. “That being said, we will soon be able to open up the vaccines to the next age and service groups in line.”

State health officials are handling vaccination appointments online at vaccine.coronavirus.in.gov or by calling 211. People should not go to the DeKalb County Health Department office for scheduling or for shots, Lynch said. People also should not report to Middaugh Hall without appointments.

People arriving for shots Wednesday will stop at a screening station to make sure they are well, then proceed to a registration area. Then they will move to one of three vaccination stations. After receiving their shots, they will wait in an observation area for 15-30 minutes to watch for adverse reactions. The length of observation time depends on each person’s medical history, Lynch said. Approximately 20 volunteers will be working Wednesday at Middaugh Hall. They include active and retired nurses, pharmacists and paramedics.

People coming to Middaugh Hall on Jan. 13 and 20 will receive the Moderna vaccine, which requires only a standard level of refrigeration. They will be eligible for the second dose of vaccine after waiting 28 days.

With the increased quota of vaccine, Souder added, “It seems the state has recognized the hard work our department is done and is rewarding us with the opportunity to administer over three times a number of vaccines per week.

“No shots will be wasted, according this plan, because we will have a waiting list at the end of each day for unused vaccines,” Souder said.

In spite of the increased supply for DeKalb County, Souder said he does not expect that shots will be available immediately to people under the age of 75.

“That grouping of under 75 will have to wait until we’ve had a good penetration of the older, high-risk people. We just don’t have enough vaccine to start giving everybody 65-and-up a shot. At least not this week,” Souder said. “Just to do the people over 65 collectively will take about 3 1/2 months at the present vaccine supply rate. More vaccine will be required.”

Souder argues case

for getting vaccinated

Souder spoke to people who may have concerns about receiving the vaccine.

“They should think of it as if they are making a choice, because it is exactly this: choose the vaccine or choose getting COVID. The chances of serious injury or death are 1,000 or more times greater for the COVID-19 virus than from the vaccine,” Souder said.

“The new, rapid-spreading virus version, now in our state, is going to involve almost 100% of us with acquiring the virus and a large percent with medicine cost, loss of work, hospitalization and in some cases death. These death rates are unparalleled and unacceptable,” he said.

“The cost of these illnesses collectively adds up to billions of dollars. If you haven’t been seeing the damage that COVID-19 China origin virus is doing to people’s families, jobs and lifestyles, you haven’t been looking”

He added, “The vaccine is a far better choice compared to getting the COVID-19 virus itself. Please sign up for the shots when available to you. The supplies are limited!”

Souder concluded, “Let’s keep up wearing our masks, avoiding gatherings, keeping distance, good hygiene and keeping those vaccines rolling in our county! These efforts will greatly pay off!”

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