First responders from across Scott County waited in line at Belle Plaine City Hall to receive their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, January 5.
Scott County Public Health Director Lisa Brodsky estimated that about 80 people received their shot that night from community paramedics and nurses from WGH Group, LLC.
“Overall it was a fast and relatively painless process,” said Belle Plaine Fire Chief Two Brian Siekmann, who received the vaccine on Tuesday.
The individuals signed up for a time slot in advance, waited in a socially distanced line upon arrival, and then stepped up to one of the vaccination stations. After receiving their injection, they were asked to wait onsite for 15 minutes to make sure there were no serious side effects.
“As of now I have not had any side effects, just a little sore at the injection site,” Siekmann said the next morning.
Brodsky said the group is expected to receive their second dose of the vaccine 24 to 28 days after the initial shot.
Since the city police officers and firemen provide emergency medical services, they are considered part of group 1a1, also called the “Mission Critical” category.
This category includes hospitals, vaccinators and testers, skilled nursing facilities, EMS, unaffiliated clinics, and dialysis centers.
Brodsky said the county is focusing specifically on getting vaccinations to EMS, unaffiliated clinics, and dialysis centers since hospitals and skilled nursing facilities have other ways to receive and distribute the vaccine.
Brodsky expects the county will be done vaccinating group 1a1 by the end of the week. In addition to the Belle Plaine vaccination clinic, the county also hosted clinics in Prior Lake and Shakopee.
Next week, the county will begin vaccinating group 1a2, which includes congregate care settings like group homes, assisted living facilities, jails, and adult foster care settings.
“I think we are really fortunate in our county that we have such good partnerships and we may end up moving a little faster through these groups than a larger community, or those that just don’t have access,” said Brodsky at the county commissioner’s board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 5.
Currently, the county receives 300 doses of the Moderna vaccine each week, and has received 600 doses total.
As supplies are available, the county can continue to work its way through group 1a3, which includes all remaining healthcare personnel that are unable to work remotely.
However, the county must receive permission from the Minnesota Department of Health before moving on to vaccinate group 1b, which includes frontline essential workers and adults 75 years and older.
Brodsky said this group includes 3,000 education workers alone, and will require a large scale plan that requires more time and support staff. She hopes the county’s weekly vaccine allocations increase by then.
“We don’t know when they will start to increase our vaccination. When we get the vaccine we will be giving out the vaccine,” she said.