By Eugenia Jones
Last week, Whitley Family Medical Center (WFMC) with the Cumberland Family Medical Center, Inc. in Whitley City began administering COVID-19 vaccinations to McCreary Countians, and Dr. John Patton is delighted.
“I’ve been smiling all day,” Patton said.
As the only local federally qualified health center in McCreary County, WFMC is the only McCreary County clinic currently receiving the vaccine. As of now, the state provides vaccine for the general public through federally qualified health centers, drugstores (locally, Walgreens), health departments, and regional centers such as hospitals.
WFM will receive one hundred vaccines per week for the first four weeks. After that, the practice will receive 200 vaccines for four weeks. The increase to 200 covers the second “booster” shot for those who have received their initial vaccination and allows for another 100 individuals to receive the initial vaccination.
The clinic hopes to administer 100 initial doses per week. Currently, they are working through a waiting list and administering vaccinations to phases 1–A (long term care facilities, assisted living facilities, health care personnel, 1-B (anyone age 70 or older, first responders, Kentucky K-12 school personnel, Kentucky child care workers) and 1-C (anyone age 60 or older, anyone age 16 or older with CDC highest risk C19 risk conditions, and all essential workers.)
Since the vials of Moderna vaccine being administered at the practice must be stored in a freezer until the day of use, scheduling is critical.
“If someone doesn’t show up for their vaccination, we call someone to take their place,” Patton said. “We need ten people scheduled at a time to use a vial of vaccine. We must use all of the vaccine in a vial (ten doses) that day or it is wasted.”
Patton noted individuals who receive COVID-19 vaccinations are monitored closely for allergic relations. All who receive the vaccination are required to stay afterwards at the practice for at least fifteen minutes for monitoring. Some individuals may be required to stay for thirty minutes.
Patton said individuals who receive the vaccine should avoid pain relievers such as Tylenol, etc. on the day of the shot. However, he noted low dose aspirin for heart disease is OK. He also said it is preferable to wait 12 hours (or at least 4-6 hours) after receiving the shot to take medication for fever.
“Having some symptoms is a sign of a good reaction to the vaccine,” Patton noted.
Managing administration of the COVID-19 vaccinations is a challenging task. Patton has a team of three working primarily with the vaccinations-two administering shots and one handling registration.
Patton encourages anyone currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination to call Whitley Family Medical Center at 376-5391 to get on the waiting list. As WFMC is the only local private health care recipient of the vaccine thus far, Patton said all individuals, regardless of their primary care doctor, can receive the vaccine at WFMC.
“You don’t have to be one of our regular patients to receive the vaccine,” Patton said. “I’m just so excited to get the vaccine in and be able to do this to help individuals in our county.”