On Saturday, Jan. 9, Rockcastle Regional Hospital and Respiratory Care Center provided COVID-19 vaccines to 342 of the most vulnerable in our community.
“Getting vaccinated is our first step to putting this disease behind us,” said Rockcastle Regional medical director and Rockcastle Family Wellness physician Dr. Karen Saylor. “The vaccine is a safe and effective way for us to move towards having our normal lives back.”
Dr. Saylor recommends that we need this vaccine to protect ourselves and others. “This is an opportunity for us all to take action that will not only benefit our own health, but will help protect those in our community whose bodies may not be able to fight off the virus. Even if you are not in the high risk category, by getting the vaccine, you are protecting your family, your neighbors, and all others around you who may be more susceptible to the disease.”
The clinic was possible due to the remaining vaccine doses Rockcastle Regional had after recent long-term care resident and employee vaccinations. Under the guidance of the Kentucky Department of Public Health (KDPH), the vaccines were offered to healthcare personnel from any facility, first responders, and to those 70 years and older.
“We knew mid-last week we would have some vaccine doses left after our residents and employees were vaccinated,” said Rockcastle Regional’s infection control coordinator and patient safety director Traci Bullens, RN. “We felt it vital to get those doses out to the most vulnerable community members as soon as possible.”
The organization assembled a team to coordinate and implement a vaccination clinic in a matter of two days.
“Patient safety is always our top priority in whatever we do,” said Brandy Bullock, rural health clinics director. “Knowing that we would be receiving over 300 patients who are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, it was our goal to operate this clinic as efficiently and safely as possible and I believe we achieved just that.”
At the clinic, the Rockcastle Regional team administered the first of two doses of the Moderna vaccine. A booster dose will be given Feb. 6.
The feedback staff received from those who received the vaccine was overwhelmingly positive. Doug and Sue Hamm received their first dose at the clinic, saying, “Today when we got our vaccinations, it was such an impressive system, as usual. Things ran so smoothly, and all the many employees there were so kind, helpful, professional, and efficient.”
Meanwhile, as part of the state’s phased plan, the organization has been vaccinating its employees who made the important decision to take the vaccine over the last three weeks.
The first COVID-19 vaccines approved for public use were those produced by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. The state of Kentucky received shipment of vaccines and distributed them throughout the Commonwealth to healthcare organizations. The KDPH developed a four-phased approach to making the vaccines available to the community.
“At this time, we have distributed all of our remaining available vaccine doses,” said Bullens. “At some point in the future, we will receive additional doses and will make those available to the community based on the phased approach guidelines set by the state.”
Future vaccine clinics will be announced on the hospital’s social media, website, and through the Mt. Vernon Signal, as press time permits. If you would like to be notified via email when the next vaccine clinic is available, please email your name and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To stay up-to-date on the state’s plan, visit their website at www.kycovid19.ky.gov/vaccine.