Health Department beginning COVID-19 vaccination clinics

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Due to a large response to the county’s COVID-19 vaccination clinics, the Person County Health Department is planning for two drive-thru vaccination clinics next Wednesday and Thursday.
The health department’s vaccination efforts continued Wednesday with an appointment-only clinic.
Another appointment-only clinic is scheduled for Thursday.
County Health Director Janet Clayton told the Person County Board of Commissioners Monday night that the health department has received hundreds of calls regarding vaccination appointments and staff had taken names and numbers and began returning those calls Monday.
Due to the large response to the appointment openings, the health department plans to have two drive-thru vaccination clinics Jan. 13 and 14 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Palace Pointe parking lot at 5050 Durham Road.
The clinics will be held on a first-come, first-served basis and appointments will not be scheduled.
The clinic will be open to health care workers who have not yet been vaccinated and anyone 75 or older, regardless of health status or living situation.
Clayton said the health department’s space is a limiting factor to vaccinating large numbers as those who get the first dose of the vaccine must be monitored for 15 minutes.
“Right now, we have the two clinics scheduled in the FEMA room, so space is an issue,” she said. “With the drive-thru there will be a designated parking area for individuals to wait and our EMS partners will be monitoring the people in their cars for any adverse reactions that may occur.”
Clayton said that there have been no adverse reactions so far.
The health department began hosting clinics last week with two clinics for the county’s health care workers and began working with the county’s group and residential care homes that had not already signed up with the federal vaccination program Monday.
Clayton said those efforts are expected to be finished by noon Wednesday.
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services dashboard, 494 county residents have received the first vaccine dose and one county resident has completed the two-dose vaccine series.
The drive-thru eligibility requirements reflect a change in the state’s vaccine prioritization to align with a change in federal guidance from a chronic-illness to an aged-based prioritization.
The state’s plan, updated Dec. 30, now plans for adults 75 years or older and frontline essential workers regardless of chronic conditions to receive the vaccine after health care workers.
The phase 1b will be split into three groups.
Group one includes anyone 75 years or older regardless of medical condition or living situation.
Health care and frontline essential workers who are 50 years of age or older are in the phase’s second group.
Front line and health care workers of any age, regardless of whether they work directly with COVID-19 patients are included in group three.
Phase two will be open to adults at high risk for exposure and at increased risk of severe illness and will be split into four groups.
Group one is anyone aged 65-74 years.
Group two is anyone 16-64 years with a medical condition that increases risk of severe disease from COVID-19.
Those who are incarcerated or living in other close group living settings who have not already vaccinated due to age, medical condition or job function are the third group in phase 2.
The second phase will end with vaccinations for essential workers who have not yet been vaccinated.
Phase three will open vaccinations for college, university and high school students 16 or older.
Finally, the remaining general public is included in phase four.

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