Trigg County Hospital has administered 200 COVID-19 vaccines to health care workers and first responders after receiving its initial shipment of the vaccines on Dec. 23. The hospital will continue its vaccination efforts this week, with 500 more vaccines slated to be administered to the community’s older residents.

Fredia Smiley, the hospital’s chief nursing officer, said 200 vaccines were to be administered today to people in the county who are 70 and older, while another 300 will be administered on Thursday.

Those receiving the vaccines will need to return in 28 days for a second round of the vaccine.

Smiley said this week’s vaccinations will be administered at the Lexie Bush Convention Center at the Trigg County Recreation Center, both to allow for social distancing and so that officials will be able to move through the volume of people that they need to as they administer the vaccines.

She added that officials are trying to keep people out of the hospital if they don’t need to be there. Because of increases in COVID-19, in-patients are limited to one visitor, Smiley explained, and there are no visitors allowed in the emergency room unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Individuals must make an appointment to receive a vaccine; call Trigg County Primary Care at 270-522-0898 to schedule a time, and bring a picture ID and your insurance card with you to the appointment.

Those who don’t have an insurance card won’t be charged for their vaccinations. Smiley said the COVID-19 vaccines are being paid for under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Lines will be open beginning at 8 a.m., and shots will be given starting at 9 a.m. on both days.

Smiley said the local hospital has received the Moderna vaccine, and she noted that the vaccines are among some 27,000 that the state has been getting each week, that are in turn distributed to counties.

Smiley said she isn’t sure how officials decide how many vaccines are given to individual counties, but she said the Trigg County Hospital will continue vaccinating people as long as it has the vaccine.

“We’ll vaccinate as many as they send,” she said. “We’ll get it out there as quickly as we can.”

Smiley said officials will inoculate “whatever the state sends us,” and she noted that the hospital is trying to find those people who need or want the vaccine. The hospital conducted a trial run with its first responders to see how things would flow and has met with county officials to plan the distribution.

She said a team was sent out to evaluate the convention center and get things set up for this week.

“Everybody’s wanting the vaccine right now,” Smiley said, noting that the hospital and the Pennyrile District Health Department are “doing the best we can,” she said earlier this week.

Smiley said those receiving the shots will return to the same location in another four weeks to receive the second round of the vaccine. Everybody must wear masks when they receive their shots, and everything will be wiped down.

Individuals who have recently had a vaccine will have to wait two weeks before they can get the coronavirus vaccine, and those receiving their initial shots will stay for observation for at least 15 minutes to see if they have any reaction. Additionally, if they have had any reaction in the past, they will wait 30 minutes before leaving after getting the vaccine.

Smiley said the Moderna vaccines are stored in the freezer and are put in the refrigerator 2 ½ hours before being administered to allow for a slow thaw. They are then brought to room temperature 15 minutes before patients are given the vaccines, more so for comfort, Smiley said.

She noted that it’s not comfortable to be injected with something cold.

Smiley said there were 400 vaccines in the first shipment received in Trigg County on Dec. 23 with another 300 arriving on Monday morning.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

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