Webster County Public Health (WCPH) test ran a mass vaccination clinic Thursday afternoon at Iowa Central Community College’s East Campus in Fort Dodge. The clinic provided flu shots to Fort Dodge Community School district students in grades kindergarten through 4th grade, and also allowed WCPH staff to prepare for upcoming mass vaccination clinics which are anticipated due to COVID-19.
“As a public health department, WCPH is required to have the ability and understanding to mass vaccinate should it be needed, not just for COVID,” said Kari Prescott, Webster County Health Department Director. “This test run is a much smaller scale and allows us to determine the amount of time that it takes to get people through the clinic, to test signage, the ability to communicate, to test our PIO messaging, to ensure that we are as clear as possible with what is needed and also to keep people safe and healthy and inside their cars for vaccinations.”
The test clinic utilized three semi bays with each bay area being fashioned into a drive-thru lane in which participants were ushered to a lane, then provided WCPH staff their insurance card and identification, and then were vaccinated.
“Our future goal will be to vaccinate as many as possible in the county in 72 hours,” said Prescott. “We have the capability to utilize 10 semi bays which could allow 40 cars at a time. While today is a much smaller scale, it gave us the opportunity to test and learn. This is similar to how we provided mass vaccinations for H1N1 which we did at the mall, but due to the type of virus and contagiousness of COVID, we needed to utilize an open air area.”
While COVID vaccines are still in the works, Prescott said that WCPH’s guidance on who will be first in line to receive a vaccine – whether that be long term care facilities, health care workers, law enforcement, etc. – will be prioritized by the Iowa Department of Public Health and provided through guidance to all public health departments. WCPH coordinated with multiple county partners for Thursday’s test clinic and will continue to work with these agencies for future clinic planning.
“We are so grateful to Iowa Central Community College for the coordination and for providing space,” said Prescott. “Thank you to Webster County Sheriff’s Department for traffic control, to the roads department for the signage and equipment, to Fort Dodge Community School district staff for working alongside us to reach families and to help on site today.”