MDP: A lot of hope in a little jab: Residents hail COVID-19 vaccine clinic

Thanks to Katharhynn Heidelberg for covering the 1/14/21 Vaccination Clinic. The original article can be seen in the Montrose Press by clicking here.

Friendship Hall looked different Thursday, with plywood privacy partitions and black plastic enclosing the interior. The signs were new, too, directing foot traffic to one entrance, one exit. But people like Char and David Cary were happy to be there: the temporary changes to the usually open hall were to facilitate the county’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

David said getting the shot gave him some peace of mind. “Both Char and I have been aware of what’s going on and we’ve seen the terrible lines in certain places. We were just thrilled to get this kind of service in Montrose so quickly,” he said. “We’re tickled to death.”

Char is in a higher risk category, because of her previous cancer. The Carys were on a waiting list for the vaccine, which the county Montrose County is administering to 1A and 1B categories, under the state’s priorities.

Each week when the county receives its vaccine allocation, staff determines how many of those who have preregistered can formalize their registration and come for a shot. In the event that some who are registered do not come, the county has a standby list, so no dose goes to waste.

“They called me because they had vaccines left,” David said. “We were here in five minutes. … I don’t want to catch it. That’s the main thing.”

The Carys urged others to be vaccinated as soon as they are eligible and the supply allows.

“Particularly older people,” Char said. “It’s low risk. Look at it this way: You’re not giving it to somebody else.”

Montrose County on Thursday administered 430 shots of the Moderna vaccine at Friendship Hall and planned another 40 on the West End Friday. People are to visit to see if they are eligible to preregister and if they are, to complete that process there, or to call 970-252-4545.

At intake at the vaccination site, people are screened for temperature and asked a series of questions, including how well they feel and whether they have had reactions to vaccines in the past, or known allergies.

They are given a vaccination card to keep with them and to present when they are contacted to come in for a booster shot in about 24 days.

Because not everyone who was eligible showed up for the Thursday clinic, the county was able to contact people on standby. Those who could get there in time could receive a shot.

Judy Bushmiaer and her husband were notified the night before that they could be summoned on the reserve list. No call came Thursday morning, but it came that afternoon.

“We’re just thankful to go ahead and get started with it. We had no qualms about getting the shot at all,” she said. “That was the easiest shot I think I ever had. I didn’t feel anything,” Bushmiaer said earlier.

Bushmiaer proceeded to a table at the monitoring station, where a county staffer checked her card and told her how long to wait in the monitoring area. Behind him, in a screened off area, was medical monitoring equipment and a gurney on standby, in case someone needed extra care.

“The clinic is going amazingly well,” Commissioner Keith Caddy said. “That first hour, we went through 140 people in an hour.”

Montrose County has requested more than 5,000 doses from the state’s next allocation, although what it ultimately receives depends on available supply, and every county in Colorado is vaccine-hungry.

“We could administer 5,000 in a week,” Caddy said. “We can do it here if we can get the people in. We did 400 and change in basically four hours.”

Vaccination is the county’s main focus when it comes to fighting COVID, Commissioner Sue Hansen said. “We believe that is the only positive thing we can to do stop the spread,” she said.

Don French, a nurse with Montrose County School District, was among those from multiple entities, including the county and Montrose Fire Protection District, who assisted in giving the vaccines. He said things went smoothly.

“I felt it was very well organized. We did seem to get people through and they were very pleased to be here,” French, known to students as “Nurse D,” said.

“I think there was minimal amount of wait and when we’re trying to provide service, we did good. And it feels good to be allowed to serve somebody. It’s like a compliment.”