Virus Outbreak (copy)

Syringes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine sit in a tray in a vaccination room.

As public health personnel move down the vaccination distribution priority list, health care providers are gearing up to administer the first round of vaccinations to long-term care facilities (LTCF) and assisted living facilities (ALF) residents.

Kaitlyn Mercer, the health unit coordinator for Edgewood Spring Wind assisted living, confirmed that 75 residents and staff members are scheduled to receive vaccinations on Jan. 13. Mercer said the residents are eager and ready to get back to some semblance of normalcy.

Spring Wind partnered with Walgreens, located on Grand Avenue toward Walmart, to ensure residents and staff had access to vaccination when their tier number was called. Supposedly, the vaccine will be administered on-site, allowing residents to vaccinate without risking exposure.

When asked, a technician at the pharmacy said she was not authorized to confirm vaccine-related information; however, a press release provided on the Walgreens website stated expectations to complete the first round of COVID-19 vaccines in skilled nursing facilities should be recognized by Jan. 25.

Unlike other states facing various vaccine problems, Albany County seems to be moving quickly and efficiently with administration.

Police Chief Dale Stalder said he was told in early December to expect vaccination for his tier in mid-January, but said many of his patrol team members have scheduled their appointments to vaccinate for this week.

“The delivery of the vaccine and the distribution is going, at least in Albany County, is going very well,” Stalder said, adding the conversations he has had the past week suggest opportunities for a speedier administration of the vaccine to the lower priority groups. “It’s my belief that availability for all the different tiers is going to come in a pretty timely manner.”

Stalder seemed to suggest the apparent ease of COVID-19 vaccine administration comes from a preset emergency distribution plan created by the state, public health agencies and emergency planning committees, as well as others, years ago.

He recounted the 2009 H1N1 international public health emergency and said first responders are familiar with pandemic plans and the varying levels of vaccine distribution priority having undergone a similar priority level in the past. In a way, the allocation and distribution for coronavirus immunizations is standard protocol, with some pandemic-specific changes.

“One of the bigger differences with the COVID vaccine that was not really discussed in 2009 with N1H1 is that the delivery needs have changed,” Stalder said.

The refrigeration/freezing requirements during this pandemic are drastically different than the 12-years-past pandemic, thus requires flexibility in emergency response plans.

One thing that doesn’t require any flexibility is confidence and patience in the health care workers. Wyoming Department of Health reported 1,099 second dose vaccines have been administered across the state.

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