Local officials are making preparations now for the anticipated mass vaccination of community members for COVID-19. The first approved vaccine was shipped over the weekend and has begun to be administered to health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic as well as the elderly in long-term health facilities.
Grady County Health Department Director Michelle Thornton has issued a call for volunteers who could assist in the vaccination administration. Volunteers can be EMTs, pharmacists, paramedics, RNs, LPNs, NPs and even students in these professions if accompanied by an instructor.
Anyone interested in assisting in this effort, which is expected to take off in early 2021, should contact Thornton by calling (229) 377-2992 or emailing her at email@example.com.
Cairo Mayor Howard Thrower III, says that public health officials do not know when the vaccine will arrive here, but they want to be prepared to administer it to all who require it.
According to Thornton, the vaccines, which are funded by the federal government, will be free. Public Health is also making plans to be able to vaccinate those who do not have access to transportation or are non-ambulatory.
Grady County Emergency Management Agency director Richard Phillips appeared before the Grady County Commission Tuesday night seeking permission to purchase two portable carports to be used as drive-thru vaccination stations.
As officials prepare to ramp up for mass vaccinations next year a point of distribution will be established in the student parking lot in front of the Cairo High School gymnasium, according to Phillips. The two portable carports are 18’ x 21’ x 10’ and will provide ample height for vehicles to pull into and for volunteers and DPH personnel to administer vaccines. Phillips is also seeking to purchase heaters to warm the interior of the carports.
The EMA director reported that Grady County Emergency Service Director Rodney Gordon and his staff will administer vaccinations to local first responders. “We don’t know if that will be before Christmas or not,” Phillips said.
According to Thornton, if a second point of distribution is necessary it would be set up at the State Farmers Market.
Volunteers who assist with the vaccinations will be provided web-based training prior to being called into service. Thornton states she is not yet aware of what type vaccine will be sent here, ultra-cold, frozen or refrigerated.
Officials also cannot predict how many local residents will be interested in receiving the vaccine, but they anticipate interest will grow as time progresses.