CCH is helping administer COVID-19 vaccines to the public
When Carol Bennett received a telephone call to schedule her COVID-19 vaccine, she was elated.
“It was like a call from heaven,” she said.
Bennett was one of the first to be given a vaccine on Jan. 28 during a public clinic at the Family Resource Center at 3020 18th St.
Columbus Community Hospital is collaborating with the East Central District Health Department to administer vaccines to the public. Vaccines are being given to those older than 65 living in the health department’s service area, which includes Platte, Boone, Colfax and Nance counties.
Clinics to administer vaccines will continue to be held in Columbus and in other locations within the health department’s service area. People who registered to receive a COVID-19 vaccine through ECDHD were contacted to schedule an appointment in Columbus.
The clinics are part of a multi-phased approach put forth by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to distribute vaccines. The first phase included health care workers, emergency medical services and long-term care facility staff and residents. The second phase is to vaccinate older adults.
Clinics to administer the first dose of the vaccine are being held on Thursdays in Columbus. Second doses will be given on Tuesdays four weeks later. On the first day of the clinic, about 200 people got their first dose.
Many of them said they were thankful to receive it.
Marilyn Bruhn, of Monroe, was looking forward to the vaccination, not just to keep herself safe, but for others.
“This is a way I can do my part to protect myself, my family and everyone else,” she said.
There have been two approved COVID-19 vaccines – from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. Both have been shown to be highly effective. Moderna is the vaccine being given at the clinic in Columbus. Studies have shown that it is 94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19 and almost 100% effective in preventing severe cases.
The process to develop a COVID-19 vaccine was sped up by the federal government so it could be available as soon as possible. The rapid production resulted in social media myths about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines.
Bennett, of Columbus, said she didn’t have any second thoughts about being vaccinated.
“I know there are people concerned, but I don’t think it would be given out if it wasn’t safe,” she said.
She has been scared of getting COVID-19 and has been following safety guidelines during the pandemic, including being socially distant and staying home.
“I’m just so tired of having to be inside and not being able to see my family,” she said.
Others, like Janie Sliva of Columbus, shared the same thought.
“We really want to go see our grandkids,” Sliva said of herself and her husband, Clem. The couple received their vaccinations on Jan. 28.
Health care workers are happy that the vaccines are being made available to the public.
“It’s the answer to our prayers that we have had for a year,” said Janet Loseke, acute care unit director at CCH.
According to DHHS, the state is receiving about 23,000 first and second doses of vaccine per week. The vaccine is then allocated to health departments in Nebraska based on the number of people eligible for priority groups. Vaccination efforts are led by local health departments.
More than 153,000 total vaccinations were administered in Nebraska by the end of January. Health officials urge that vaccinations are the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“This is our way to protect our community as a whole. This is our way to move past COVID. Until we get vaccinations out there, we can’t move past COVID,” said Sue Deyke, emergency room director at CCH.
For more information on how members of the public can register for the vaccine, visit https://vaccinate.ne.gov/.
*This article was originally published on Feb. 3.