As members of the community sat spaced out in the lobby of the Jones Regional Medical Center’s family clinic, they said hello to old friends, with one remarking it was the most people she’d seen in months.
Those gathered in the lobby Feb. 10 were there for their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine—the first such community vaccine clinic held at the hospital.
During the clinic, members of the public, contacted and preregistered ahead of time, arrived with the clinic able to handle 10 vaccinations in each of two wings in the clinic. While staff were working in one wing, the previous wing utilized was sanitized and prepared for the next group.
Once taken back for the vaccine, with couples able to get vaccinated together, participants are able to ask questions and get their shots. Once given, a follow up for their second shot is scheduled, and a timer is set for 15 minutes while subjects keep an eye out for possible side effects, including: hives, itching, swelling of lips, face or throat, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, feeling faint or feeling that your heart is racing. Patients will also receive texts checking up on them to ensure that no side effects appear later.
For one of the residents lucky enough to get into the first clinic, Duaine Eden, husband of the clinic’s administrator, Sheila Eden, is looking forward to a few weeks from now when both of them will be fully vaccinated. While he hasn’t had a confirmed case of COVID-19, Eden said an illness knocked him down pretty hard in February and has wondered if he had gotten it before its presence in the U.S was widely known.
The only anxiety Duaine said he had was about which vaccine they would get but wasn’t worried either way.
“I guess I would’ve gone for the one-shot, if they could’ve got it, but I don’t care,” he said. “As long as I get one.”
Those vaccinated at Jones County clinics will receive the Moderna vaccine, which requires 28 days between shots as the county does not have the freezing storage abilities to keep the Pfizer vaccine at a low enough temperature. The single-shot vaccine Eden referred to is a vaccine being produced by Johnson & Johnson which requires just a single shot but has not yet been approved by the Federal Drug Administration for use in the U.S.
Those getting vaccinated weren’t the only ones excited about the clinic.
“I think the vaccines are one of the most important things for our community at this time,” Kirk Kilburg, M.D., of Anamosa Family Medicine, said. “As you can see, staff are here after hours so that we can help our community. All of the staff were more than willing to be here, you didn’t even have to ask them to work.”
The first clinic was able to dole out 100 vaccinations, with the same number expected for the rest of the month.
According to a press releases from the hospital announcing the first clinic, additional appointments are expected to open as more vaccine becomes available, and Anamosa Family Practice is reaching out to its eligible patients by text, phone or mail when vaccine is available.
To be considered eligible, individuals must fill out the COVID-19 vaccine form on the Jones County Public Health website. The public is asked not to call the family practice offices, the clinics will contact patients when it’s time for individuals to receive a vaccine. Clinics will not ask for social security numbers, insurance information or credit card information when they schedule a vaccination.
For those who do not have a UnityPoint Health provider can select a provider via unitypoint.org/findadoctor.