The COVID-19 Vaccine: Priorities and Communication
Written by Andrew-Rossi on March 2, 2021
Demand for the COVID-19 vaccine is still outpacing supply, and Park County Public Health is trying to ensure that limited supply gets to the residents who need it most.
Park County, like the rest of the nation, is still distributing the vaccine to individuals in Groups 1a and 1b. That includes healthcare workers, senior citizens 65 years old and older, residents of long-term care facilities, and employees at schools, grocery stores, and other high-contact positions.
But when and where can most Cody residents receive the vaccine?
Bill Crampton, Park County Public Health Nurse, says the department is ready for widespread distribution – they practiced their model last fall at the Cody Stampede Rodeo Grounds.
“We have practiced for this in Public Health for years,” Crampton says. “The drive-thru last fall for the flu vaccine was in preparation for later this spring – doing a drive-thru for this vaccine. It’ll get a lot more people through. We’re ready for this. The limiting factor is the vaccine itself.”
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been shipped to Park County over the past few months, but only in limited amounts every few weeks. Each vaccine requires a double dose to reach maximum effectiveness.
Johnson and Johnson recently got approved for its COVID-19 vaccine, which only requires one dose for maximum effect. Its unknown if or when this vaccine will be available in Wyoming and Park County.
Once any or all COVID-19 vaccines become readily available, drive-thru vaccination clinics will be set up around the county just like those for last year’s flu vaccine. But that won’t be until May or June, at the earliest.
ark County Public Health’s current concern are residents who are eligible for the vaccine and aren’t getting the message of where and when they can receive it. Crampton says the main problem the department faces is communication, and many people aren’t paying attention to the best media.
“You talk with people and some don’t listen to the local radio, they don’t read the local newspaper, they don’t participate in Facebook. The bottom line is they deny access to all the normal ways of getting information. We know there are people out there who still need to get the vaccine that are in the at-risk categories by deny knowing anything about it.”
Crampton says local news outlets are the best options when it comes to knowing and understanding COVID-19. National news outlets aren’t giving the best perspectives or information, especially for a state like Wyoming.
If anyone knows a older or at-risk resident who may not know the local COVID situation, Park County Public Health encourages reaching out and seeing if they are aware and able to get the vaccine.
“What we’ve tried to emphasize all along is what’s happening on the national level and in other states isn’t happening here. We’re proceeding quietly and slowly and thoroughly and trying to make sure everyone who wants it gets it. It’s going to take some time due to the limitations on the vaccine itself. That’s where we are on that,” Crampton says.