Dr. Anderson vaccinates Katie Lineback

While the Avery County Health Department remains as the primary resource for those who are eligible to receive the vaccine, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System has also taken up the vaccine effort by vaccinating first responders, as well as eligible patients at the Baker Center at Cannon Memorial Hospital and Elk River Medical Associates in Banner Elk. Pictured is Dr. Anderson vaccinating Katie Lineback.

NEWLAND — Avery County and the Avery County Health Department will begin the vaccination of individuals 65 years of age and older from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20, at the Avery County Agriculture Extension Center located at 661 Vale Road above Ingles in Newland.

The vaccination clinic also will be held on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 21 and 22, and will be held the following week from Tuesday to Thursday, Jan. 26 to 28. Operating times will remain from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Those who have questions concerning the vaccine can call (828) 733-8273.

The most recent phase of the vaccine rollout comes after the health department initiated the vaccination of individuals 75 years of age and older the previous week. Similar to last week’s procedure, no appointments are necessary, and those who have a bleeding disorder must contact their physician and receive written documentation to receive the vaccine.

County officials also remind patients to bring their insurance cards and to wear appropriate clothing to allow nurses easy access to the upper arm in order to administer the vaccine. Masks are required. Moreover, demand for the vaccine remains high at this time, and while county health workers have been able to efficiently handle the demand, patients may have to wait upon arrival as nurses continue to vaccinate those in group 1A and those older than 65.

“The first thing you need to bring is your patience. We are expecting large numbers of people,” Deborah Gragg, ACHD Nursing Supervisor, said.

Law enforcement will be on site directing traffic. According to the ACHD, upon arrival, ensure that you have your insurance card or ID on hand, and remember to wear a mask and maintain a distance of six feet from others. Someone at the entrance of the building will be screening people for COVID-19-like symptoms, and a mask is required to enter. Masks will be provided on site.

Patients should be prepared to present their identification, as well as their insurance cards and anticoagulant doctor’s note if they have one, upon entering the building. Staff will make copies of the documents and will hand patients a form to fill out. Those who pre-register can fill out some of these forms beforehand. Patients will then be moved to the waiting area where they will be spaced out six feet apart from others before a data entry person enters the patient’s information into the database system.

Once the patient is finished checking in, they will be moved to the next available nurse who will administer the vaccine. The patient is then given a card with the vaccine information on it, as well as a date on which the patient must return to the facility to receive the second dose. Patients will then be directed toward an observation area where they will be observed for 15 minutes before they are allowed to leave.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, 1,078 people have received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine in Avery County, and 10 people have completed the vaccine series.

Statewide 344,456 people have receive the first dose of one of the COVID-19 vaccines, while 60,073 people have completed the vaccine series. Numbers do not include the 165,900 vaccine doses administered as of Jan. 19 at long-term care facilities, as this operation is being managed by the federal government in partnership with Walgreens and CVS pharmacies. In clinical trials, the Pfizer vaccine was shown to be 95-percent effective and the Moderna vaccine was shown to be 94.1-percent effective.

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