Health care workers and first responders were among the first in Butler County to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Butler County Health Care Center (BCHCC) has been holding vaccine clinics since Dec. 22; as of the end of the day Wednesday, Dec. 30, 201 vaccines – Moderna – were administered. Vaccine clinics have also been held Dec. 23, Dec. 28, Dec. 29 and Dec. 30.
Kristin Hartman, registered nurse at BCHCC, received her vaccine shortly before Christmas.
“My only complaint was a sore arm, just kind of a sore injection site for about two days,” Hartman said, adding that another common side effect has been general body aches lasting for a few days.
BCHCC pharmacist Amy Jelinek noted that is common when receiving a vaccine.
“Only minor immune response type symptoms have been reported,” Jelinek said, in an email to The Banner. “Sore arms, headache, minor body aches, fatigue, what you would expect from the immune system reacting to an invader.”
Following recommendations from the State of Nebraska, BCHCC is in Tier 1A, which includes critical care staff, inpatient providers and nurses, emergency room department staff and those involved with infectious diseases, anesthesia, respiratory therapy, phlebotomy, radiology, COVID-19 vaccinators and those in contact with infectious material. Others included in that tier who are not with a medical association are emergency medical services and COVID-19 vaccinators.
“After Tier 1a we move to Tier 1b which includes people 75 years of age and older, and designated groups of essential workers such as educators,” Jelinek said, in the email. “The tier groups are a bit of a moving target so all of this information is subject to change.”
Currently, that includes hospital staff and emergency medical technicians (EMTs).
“We had a two-day notice that our vaccine will probably arrive so then we contacted the local fire departments – all the ones in the Butler County area – and they surveyed their EMTs on who wanted the vaccine. And then they contacted us to set up an appointment,” Hartman said.
Hartman said BCHCC received an allotment of 190 vaccines. Officials are unsure of when another allotment will come, she added.
“…Some of the vials that come, you can get an extra vaccine out of them. You’re supposed to be able to get 10 vaccines out of one vial but, occasionally, you can pull 11 out of there,” Hartman said. “We are able to get a few more than the 190 that we were allotted. So we’ll probably end up giving a few more than the 190.”
Those coming to get vaccinated are asked a series of questions to ensure they don’t have symptoms of COVID-19 or other illnesses, Jelinek said, and they then complete a consent form. After receiving the vaccine, they are then monitored in case of a severe reaction.
“After the 15 minutes is up they are free to go,” Jelinek said, in the email. “The whole process takes about 20 to 30 minutes.”
Hartman noted that quite a few people have been willing to get vaccinated. Jelinek said that response has been positive.
“People are very excited to get the vaccine when they come in,” Jelinek said, in an email. “The response from our facility and the Butler County community have been favorable. The response to schedule vaccine appointments when we opened it up to our staff and EMS was very good. We started to get calls to schedule immediately!”
Hannah Schrodt is the news editor of The Banner-Press. Reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.