2021 has already been a whirlwind of a year for us here at Mountain Family. While we spent the majority of 2020 focused on COVID testing, in just two and a half months, we have given more vaccines than tests conducted since the start of the pandemic.
On January 20th we started administering the COVID-19 vaccine and as of the end of March we’ve administered 4,210 vaccines to our community members. This includes both first and second doses. As we head into April, 1,627 of our friends, relatives and neighbors have received both doses from Mountain Family. We are now excited to offer vaccine to all community members 18 and order per the latest guidance in from the state
We have had a lot of questions about our vaccine process so, I thought I would provide a quick glimpse into the work behind the clinics which dictates our processes.
All vaccine providers place orders with the state on a weekly basis for the next week and the state doesn’t tell us until Friday afternoon or Sunday how many doses will be sent. This has been a variable process, so we don’t start scheduling anyone for a first dose until Monday afternoons when we know what we’ll have on hand.
Once we know what we’ll have on hand, we open the schedules and notify staff. Team members start making calls to people who are our patients and qualify, and those who have signed up on our website. This is largely done in-between regular responsibilities and patient care.
Probably the most important component that drives our workflows is timing!
- Delivery – we don’t receive the shipment of vaccines until Tuesday or Wednesday, this limits our ability to have vaccine clinics earlier in the week
- 2.5 hours – we receive the vaccines frozen and this is the time needed for them to thaw at room temperature. Our morning clinics store them overnight in the refrigerator to thaw.
- 6 hours – that is how long we have to administer all doses from a vial once the first needle is inserted into the vial
- 10-12 –the number of doses we get from a vial depending on the needle size we’ve received that week.
- This means once we puncture a vial, we need to have 10-12 people ready to be vaccinated and is why we book everything in blocks.
- 15 minutes – The observation period. During this time, we are making sure that no one has an allergic reaction to the vaccine, and we’re prepared if someone dose.
Documentation and 2nd doses
When we give the last vaccine for the day our work is not done. Every vaccine is documented in our Electronic Health Record, reported to the state’s tracking system, and second doses are scheduled.
This process has been exhausting but also rewarding. We’ve had cookies dropped off for us as thanks, pizza delivered to us on occasion, and many, many grateful patients expressing their gratitude. Some patients have even made generous donations. We’ve also gotten to meet a lot of people’s dogs, which is a personal highlight.
We are hopeful this is bringing us to the end of this pandemic but remind you to hold out just a little longer – please continue to wear your mask and wash your hands!
If you are still looking to get your vaccine, we have 3 ways that you can get signed up:
- Schedule your own appointment through the patient portal
- Go to our website and sign up through the interest form