Vaccinating health care workers for COVID-19 was the top priority of the Dickinson County Health Department when the first vaccine arrived shortly before the New Year.
The county received another shipment on Thursday, said John Hultgren, director of the Dickinson County Health Department.
“The vaccine is in limited supply. They just ship us a little every couple of weeks. That is what we have been getting,” Hultgren said. “Until we get larger supplies, we will be somewhat limited. We are going to request it and get it in as quick as we can.
“I don’t want any vaccines sitting here for two days,” he added. “If we get it in one day, we are going to start putting it into somebody’s arm the next day.”
He said hospitals received the first shipment three weeks ago and the health department received 70 vaccine doses a week later.
“That was to vaccinate EMS staff and health department staff,” he said. “The next in line to get it based upon the state’s guidance was other health care workers out in the county,” he said.
Those would include dentists, chiropractors, optometrists and their staff.
Those 30 doses received Thursday are for other health care workers that reside in Dickinson County but provide care outside of the county that have not been vaccinated.
He said any health care worker residing in the county that has not been vaccinated should contact the health department (785) 263-4179.
For example, he said Saline County reported there were still 800 health care workers to be vaccinated.
He said assisted living homes are also in the process of getting vaccines.
“That was done separately through a Federal contract,” he said.
Those vaccines are being administered by pharmacies to the long-term care facilities, he said.
“As I understand it, they are in the process of getting those people vaccinated, patients as well as workers,” Hultgren said.
Pfizer vs. Moderna
The first vaccine the health department received was the Moderna vaccine while Thursday’s supply was the Pfizer vaccine which requires ultra-cold storage.
Both have time limitations, he said.
The hospitals received the Pfizer and the second dose, which was received on Wednesday, is given after three weeks. The second dose of Moderna is to be administered after four weeks.
He said the Kansas Department of Health and Environment took the vaccine out of the freezer Wednesday and it started thawing as it was shipped to Abilene. Hultgren met the shipment halfway from Topeka Wednesday night.
“Once it comes out of ultra-cold storage, we have five days to give it,” he said. “We are going to give most of it today (Thursday) and finish up tomorrow because of that 5-day window.”
The Moderna can be stored up to 30 days at regular freezer temperature.
The Pfizer vaccine comes in 5-dose vials and when opened, five people need to be ready.
“The Moderna is a 10-dose vial and once you tap into the vial it’s only good for five hours so you have to give all 10 doses so again you need to have at least 10 people lined up in that time frame. We certainly don’t want to waste any,” Hultgren said.
Contact Tim Horan at firstname.lastname@example.org.