Who would have thought exactly a year ago that three COVID-19 vaccines would be available and 7,000 doses would make it into the arms of Kent County residents.
In April of 2020, health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, predicted it would take 18 months at best before a vaccine was approved and available to the public.
But eight months later in December Kent County residents began receiving the Moderna vaccine.
“It’s truly a testament to the scientific ingenuity of our country,” said Kent Health Officer William Webb during a tour of the vaccination clinic at the Kent County Community Center in Worton.
He said the logistics of getting citizens vaccinated has been a massive community wide effort of health care professionals and an army of volunteers.
“The logistics you see here today is the end result of many individuals who’ve worked for months to do the planning and communications,” he said looking out over the system he designed to handle vaccine traffic at the community center. “Getting everyone vaccinate is the ticket to ending this crisis.”
The clinic has eight vaccination stations staffed by a registered nurse and an assistant at each table. The registered nurse takes a history and administers the shot and the assistant records the time of vaccination and prepares the paperwork that includes an immunization card for record keeping.
Following the shot, residents are asked to wait 15 minutes in a designated area to ensure no adverse reactions occur.
Webb was adamant in recognizing all of the volunteers who make the clinic move seamlessly.
“At every clinic the Lion’s Club is here faithfully moving people through the process.” He said. “There is also a significant number of retired heath care workers that are making the vaccination program a success.”
Webb said there is an outreach effort underway to encourage those leery of vaccinations to make an appointment.
“There are simply people out there who don’t like getting vaccines and we are trying to convey that these vaccines have been tested thoroughly and are proven to be safe and effective in preventing sever disease and hospitalizations,” he said. “There’s been no cases of adverse allergic reactions as a result of getting the vaccine here in Kent.”
Webb was optimistic about the near future for fully vaccinating everyone in Kent.
“Vaccine availability will be increasing significantly in the next three weeks as new mass vaccination sites are coming online by the hundreds throughout the state,” he said. “Gov. Larry Hogan is expecting to have the entire state vaccinated by July 1. That is the governor’s goal and we are going to work very hard to make that a reality.”
He said it was possible that Kent could be fully vaccinated sooner than the July 1 goal.
“We’re doing better compared to a lot of other counties,” he said. “It’s our goal to get everyone vaccinated as soon as possible.”
He said Kent County was in top quarter of the 24 jurisdictions with regard to the pace of vaccinations.