The Pennyrile District Health Department began issuing Moderna COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday and quickly ran out of its supply that day.
The vaccines are the first of a two-dose process that people getting the vaccine would need to do. Those vaccinated are asked to return in four weeks to get the second dose.
PDHD Executive Director Elisha A. Kite praised those who helped with the process of giving COVID-19 vaccinations.
“Our entire staff worked hard to roll out the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine this week to health care workers, first responders and persons 70 and older who live or work in the Pennyrile health district,” she said via email. “With logistical aid from local EMS and other city officials, we vaccinated over 1,000 persons 70 and older in the last two days with their first dose of the vaccine.
“The quantity of persons 70 and older who showed up for the vaccine this week in each county exceeded our supply. There were traffic flow issues that our staff, EMS personnel and local law enforcement worked quickly to resolve.”
Kite added that in each county, the staff kept track of the number of doses remaining throughout the day and eventually closed the lines to prevent people from waiting any longer than absolutely necessary.
“At this time, we have used the entirety of our first allotment of the Moderna vaccine and are awaiting more from the state,” her statement continued. “The overall feedback from the general public and city officials has been positive.
“We will continue the vaccination process as our supply is replenished by the state until we have served every person in our health district who opts to be vaccinated.”
The PDHD said on its Facebook page that it would notify the public when more vaccines are available.
“Caldwell, Crittenden and Lyon vaccine clinics are full,” the health department said on Facebook. “COVID vaccine clinics scheduled for (Thursday) will be cancelled for those counties. We will announce through media and Facebook when we receive more vaccine from the state. Thank you for your patience and understanding.”
At the Caldwell County Health Department in Princeton, cars were lined up more than an hour before the department opened at 9 a.m.
People getting vaccinated were asked a number of health questions before it was given regarding allergies to vaccines or other medicines and if they had a vaccine in the last two weeks.
Joe Storms, a Caldwell County deputy assigned to the Caldwell health department for that day, was the first to receive a vaccine there on Wednesday.
“I think it’s great that we have this opportunity,” he said. “We can protect ourselves and our loved ones and everyone in the community.”
Distribution areas throughout the Pennyrile health district were overrun by people 70 and older to get the vaccine.
Despite the lack of sufficient COVID vaccines, the Pennyrile District Health Department got high praise on its Facebook page for the way the vaccines were coordinated.
“Great bob! Well organized in Lyon County!” posted Nancy Hobgood. “We arrived at 8:15 when the gates had opened! We were vaccinated and on our way home at 10:15! ... It was very well organized but they had so few doses.”
“I live by the Princeton Health Dept. and they were overrun today with people lined up to get it,” posted Morgan Rousseau. “From 7:30 a.m. and on, people were lined up around 3 blocks and back. It’s no wonder they ran out so quickly.”
The vaccination distribution is part of the state’s Phase 1B, where first responders, people 70 and older and school personnel for grades kindergarten through 12 received COVID-19 vaccines.
The next phase, Phase 1C, would provide vaccines to people 60 and older and anyone over 16 with a high risk of getting the coronavirus as defined by the Centers for Disease Control risk conditions.
Phase 2 would provide vaccines to people 40 and older, while Phase 3 would provide vaccines to those 17 and older and Phase 4 would provide vaccines to anyone 16 and under if the vaccines are approved for their age group.
Originally, the vaccines were scheduled to be distributed on Wednesday and Thursday, then later this week Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a lunch break from noon to 12:30 p.m.
Vaccines were to be given at each county’s health department except for Lyon County, where they were given at the Lee S. Jones Park Convention Center.
“These plans are subject to staffing and vaccine supplies,” said PDHD Executive Director Elisha A. Kite via email last week.