TIGER-- Over 700 people received the COVID-19 vaccine at a free vaccination clinic held at the Rabun County Recreation Department on Tuesday, according to Rabun County Nurse Manager Dulene Jones.
“We didn’t have any doses that we wasted,” Jones said. She said that the clinic went smoothly and there were no problems throughout the day.
Jones said that there were virtually no wait times for patients and that they were in and out quickly.
When they arrived at Gym number 3 at the recreation department, patients were asked to provide their photo ID and insurance card and check in at the table in front of the building.
Everyone was required to wear a mask during the duration of the time that they were there.
Patients entered the building and were given educational materials with information about the vaccine.
Each patient was given the Moderna vaccine, Jones said. All patients had an appointment scheduled for the day. This same group will receive their second dose on February 16 at the same location and same time.
The appointment slots were for people in Phase 1-A, which includes healthcare workers such as nurses, physicians, EMS, laboratory techs, and environmental services, long-term care facilities staff and residents, adults over the age of 65 and their caregivers, and law enforcement officers, fire personnel and volunteers, dispatchers and 911 operators.
A total of 12 stations were set up around the gym so that 12 patients could be vaccinated at one time. After receiving their vaccination, patients stayed at the location to be monitored in case of any adverse reaction to the vaccine.
Surfaces at the vaccination site were constantly disinfected as part of safety measures to limit the spread of the virus. Golf carts were utilized to shuttle patients from the parking lot to the clinic site.
Jones expressed tremendous gratitude to everyone in the community who helped make the clinic a success.
“It’s been a team effort very much,” Jones said. She said she wanted to thank Rabun County Emergency Management, Rabun County EMS, nurses from Rabun County Schools, employees and retirees of the Rabun County Health Department, individuals from the District 2 Office, election poll workers, Dispatch 911, the Rabun County Sheriff’s Office, Environmental Health, the Rabun County Board of Health, the Rabun County Board of Commissioners, Dr. Pratt and staff at Clayton Family Medicine, and other nurses and community volunteers for taking the time to help at the clinic.
In a meeting last Friday, Jones, nurses and emergency personnel gathered together to go over plans on the logistics of how the day would go.
“I think there’s been a lot of thought put into this,” Jones said last Friday. “I think we have great community support.”
She said that the safety of all of the patients was the number one priority.
“We want to help you with anything possible that we can with our resources,” County Commissioner Darrin Giles said last Friday. Giles said that he wanted them to know that the county fully supported the initiative and was willing to help in any way possible.
Jones thanked community members for their patience as the health department works as quickly and efficiently as it can to accommodate everyone.
Jones said that the health department has been overwhelmed with calls and patients walking-in and requesting the vaccine.
“It literally shut our phone systems down,” Jones said about how many inquiries they were receiving at the health department.
Jones said Tuesday that there’s currently no date planned for another clinic for the initial dose of the vaccine, but that patients can continue going to the health department and filling out an appointment slip and waiting for a staff member to call them to schedule an appointment.
“I want everyone in the community to know that they’re going to be taken care of,” Jones said. “And we’re not going to stop until we get everyone vaccinated.”
Dave Palmer, public information officer for District 2 Public Health, said that individuals can sign up for a vaccination appointment by calling the call center at 1-888-426-5073 or signing up via the registration link at http://phdistrict2.org.