WILMINGTON — About 625 people were scheduled Thursday to receive a one-dose vaccine against COVID-19 during the first day of operations for a large-scale clinic Wilmington was selected for.
For the three days the clinic is open this week at the Welcome Center at 1199 Airborne Road, there is an allocation of 2,500 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be administered.
Some people arrived Thursday before the 9 a.m. start time, and formed a line under a long, protective covering that’s above the wide sidewalk that leads to the Welcome Center building entrance. Inside sat a row of registration stations, meant to be a four-minute stop, after which the recipient moves to the next row of tables for vaccination, another four-minute stop, and from there moves on to an area of chairs where they are asked to wait for 15 minutes to see whether side effects arise.
The first person in line was Brett Geary of Loveland. He chose to come to the Wilmington mass vaccination site, he said, because the vaccine there is “one shot only” and also because of the proximity to Loveland.
Asked how he was feeling about receiving the COVID vaccine, Geary said, “Let’s get it on.”
Jeff Dennis of Wilmington also arrived early.
“Well, I’ve been a little skeptical for a while and now they say they just threw out 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson,” Dennis said with a laugh. “But my wife has had her two [shots], so I’m doing it for her benefit more than my own.”
Johnson & Johnson had to discard 15 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine due to problems at Emergent BioSolutions, a company that’s part of J&J’s vaccine supply chain. J&J’s removal of the 15 million doses, announced Wednesday, did not impact operations Thursday at the Wilmington site.
According to the New York Times, the error does not affect any Johnson & Johnson doses that are currently being delivered and used, including the shipments that states are counting on next week.
Another person in line Thursday in front of the Welcome Center was Beth Ellis of Clinton County.
Ellis said, “I’m confident that it’s right for me. It’s not for everybody, but it’s right for me. My parents are in their 80s or near 80, and this makes me feel better about being around them, and they’ve had their shots so I feel like it’s right for me.”
She said she is glad about the large-scale vaccination clinic in Wilmington for people to utilize, adding it is convenient.
A number of people in line said their GPS (Global Positioning System) directed them to another part of the Wilmington Air Park, rather than to the Welcome Center on Airborne Road.
The next set of vaccination appointments to become available at this large-scale clinic will be for the dates of Wednesday, April 14 through Saturday, April 17, with the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Interested people need to check www.kroger.com/rx/covid-eligibility each day, as scheduling depends on the vaccine supply for a particular location.
‘Our own back yard’
Clinton County Health Commissioner Pamela Walker-Bauer told the News Journal that the Clinton County Health District’s (CCHD) involvement has been on the planning side for the regional mass vaccination site.
“We met with state health officials providing input and feedback on how and why this location would be a great regional asset,” said Walker-Bauer. “Being the local public health agency, we were able to facilitate and leverage our local relationships in support of this opportunity. We were able to demonstrate our past success with strong local and state working relationships as the host county for the 2014 GuardCare event.
“We are thrilled to have this asset right in our own back yard,” she added.
CCHD, Kroger & Pfizer
“CCHD continues to run our own mass vaccination operations working hand-in-glove with Kroger Health partners,” said Walker-Bauer. “CCHD is distributing a different brand of COVID vaccine (Pfizer), the only vaccine approved for those age 16-17 years old. The regional POD on Airborne Road is distributing the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. We are also targeting different days of the week to ensure that Clinton Countians have access almost every day of the week.”