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Local Health Departments off to
busy start with Covid Vaccine

From the January 20, 2021 issue of The Journal
   Local health departments across The Journal's coverage area were very busy last week administering the COVID-19 vaccine, which is now available to those who qualify in "Phase 1A."
    The Marion County Health Department gave the vaccination shot to 390 people in just four days. That's an average of 97.5 vaccinations per day, so Nurse Manager Renee Barrett, RN, BSN, and her staff have been very busy.
   They spend most of each day outside, as the shots were given to people while they remained in their vehicles. The staff members had a "home base" under a red tent and greeted visitors with smiles, clipboards, and pens. After completing the necessary paperwork, they gave the shot to each waiting person.
   "I was a bit scared after I saw the needle being pushed into arms on TV, but the shot was painless and I had no side effects from the visit," said one pleased person.
   The vaccine was administered at the Marion County Health Department on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. On Tuesday, the team visited Chattahoochee County to administer the shot. Suzanne Underwood is in training with Marion County as she will soon be the location manager in Chattahoochee and Stewart Counties.
   "I am pleased with Suzanne and her exacting detail," said Barrett. "She picked a great time to train with us."
   They are giving the Moderna vaccine, which has to be stored in a freezer. Each vial contains 10 doses and must all be given within six hours of thawing.
   Each recipient was presented a card with the time to report for the second dose of the vaccine. The date and time were pointed out and read to the recipients. Additionally, each recipient was observed for 15 minutes before being allowed to drive away from the busy parking lot. 
   In Stewart County, Mac Moye

was one of the first people to receive the vaccine. He reported that while he was at the Stewart County Health Department, there were 21 cars and around 30 people in the parking lot waiting to receive shots.
   Local Health Departments are now offering the COVID-19 vaccination shots only to those who qualify under "Phase 1A." Phase 1A includes paid and unpaid persons working in a healthcare setting who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials. Hospital staff, public health clinical staff, EMS, and other first responders, long term care facility (LTCF) staff, and urgent care facility staff are examples of people who will be included in this phase. Also, those 65 years of age and older, and caregivers, law enforcement, firefighters, and other first responders.
   Also, please contact your local health department (or register online) to ensure availability before visiting.
   "Each county receives their does directly from the manufacturer, so it may vary at times," said Pamela Kirkland of the West Central Health District. "When someone registers, they choose the county they want to go to for their vaccination."
   To register online, visit and click on the link about getting the vaccine.
Those in 1A can register on the website for the vaccine, or call the COVID-19 Call Center at 706-321-6300, and choose Option 1.
   Also, the West Central Health District encourages everyone to practice the prevention measures below.
   * Wear a mask or cloth face covering when you go to a public place.
   * Remember social distancing (six feet between you and other people).
   * Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
   * Get a flu show (if 6-months-old and older).
   * Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
   * Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
   * Stay home when you are sick.
   * Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
   * Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
   Contact information for local Health Departments is below.
   * Marion County: 229-649-5664.
   * Chattahoochee County: 706-989-3663.
   * Schley County: 229-937-2208.
   * Stewart County: 229-838-4859.

   * Webster County: 229-828-3225.