Copperas Cove, Coryell Health hold drive-through vaccine clinic
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The city of Copperas Cove joined forced with Coryell Health to hold a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic in the rear parking lot of Copperas Cove High School on Saturday.
The city’s Public Relations Director Kevin Keller said that the vaccine clinic was made possible through the coordination and support from local entities and organizations and through Coryell Health allotting 600 doses to be administered.
People had the opportunity to register for their vaccine appointment ahead of the clinic, but the time slots went quickly.
Keller explained that Deputy Fire Chief Gary Young coordinated the majority of the clinic and put together a 24-page document, called the Incident Action Plan, detailing how everything should run, from who will be at what station, the data entry set up inside the high school cafeteria, food for volunteers, and even in case of inclement weather. Keller added that everything had flowed perfectly into the afternoon period.
There was a paramedic on scene as well as nurses and a physician in the event of any emergencies. The people administering the vaccine included several medically trained personnel from paramedics, nurses, pharmacists, nurse practitioners and even local Copperas Cove doctors, Dr. Ray Harrison and Dr. Karen Harrison.
Other volunteers included Mayor Bradi Diaz, Police Chief Eddie Wilson, City Secretary Lisa Wilson, Fire Chief Michael Neujahr and other city employees as well as members of local nonprofit organizations, such as the Exchange Club of Copperas Cove.
“It’s just a great opportunity that we could bring it to our citizens,” Keller said. “I think it’s just a huge opportunity that wouldn’t be possible if Coryell Health didn’t allot us these vaccinations to do the event, but to see our local community, the smiles on their face was huge.”
Keller said that there were no other first-dose vaccination clinics planned again currently, but the city, with the support of the various community organizations, is open to doing one if vaccinations were available. There will be another clinic for the people who got their first dose on Saturday to receive their second dose, however.
“Everyone that’s here today will get a call, text, email to come back again in three weeks on the 27th,” Keller said. “If you’re here today, you’re going to get the allotment available for the next one.”
Copperas Cove resident Ann Akui was in line to get her first dose Saturday afternoon. She said she felt like getting the vaccine will help everyone get to a normal period of life again.
Akui is a teacher and has been teaching face to face since August. This school year has been a completely different year teaching with face masks, and Akui said she can’t wait until she is able to see her student’s smiles again and for them to see her smile.
Copperas Cove ISD Superintendent Joe Burns said that the district was glad to offer the location for use.
“It’s always great when we can benefit our community,” Burns said. “Everyone doesn’t have all the resources they need to do everything but through partnerships with Coryell Health, the city of Copperas Cove and CCISD, today’s been a really, really good day for our community. We want everybody to stay safe. We want everybody to be healthy. What a wonderful opportunity to bring a vaccination clinic here and whenever they reached out, it was a no brainer for us.”
If the city needs a location in the future, the school district has offered use of its property again, Burns said.
“This is community property,” Burns said. “This was bought and paid for with taxpayer dollars, so we want to make sure that if we have an opportunity to help, we are. We’re there.”
About 65 of the volunteers assisting on Saturday were also school district employees, according to Burns.
Sharon Tabor was one of several Copperas Cove Exchange Club members volunteering.
“This has been amazing,” Tabor said. “I mean, the city of Copperas Cove has this running like a well-oiled machine. I didn’t know what to expect but I’m like, this is easy-breezy.”
Dr. Taylor Ratcliff, MD and EMS Physician, was one of the medical personnel at the clinic on Saturday. Ratcliff serves as the EMS Medical Director for the cities of Belton, Harker Heights, Copperas Cove and Llano as well as Temple College.
He encouraged people who are able to get the vaccine to do so. He explained that the trial data for the two vaccines, from Pfizer and Moderna, showed that the vaccines are safe.
Both vaccines went through trials, with close to 75,000 people in both trials. Since the trials were randomized, half of the participants received a placebo, and the other half received the actual vaccine.
“When they compiled all their data, the people that got their vaccine, the efficacy was very close to 95 percent, and for a vaccine, that’s very impressive numbers,” Ratcliff said. “So, sure five out of 100 people could still get sick with the COVID virus, but in the treatment group of people who got the shot, zero of them developed what they described as severe illness, meaning having to go to the hospital, getting the treatments, getting put on the ventilator, all those things. I feel great that every person out here, we hope, that’s getting the shot in their arm today, after they complete the series, they will not wind up in the hospital, critically ill on the ventilator from COVID.”
Ratcliff said that people might feel fatigue, fever, muscle aches or headaches, which are signs that the body is building immunity and reacting to the vaccine. Most of these symptoms pass within a couple of days.
The vaccination was open for people who fall into Phase 1A or Phase 1B for the vaccine distribution. Phase 1A includes front-line healthcare workers and residents at long-term care facilities. Phase 1B includes people 65 years of age and older or people 16-years-old or older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Some of these include cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obesity, heart conditions, pregnancy, sickle cell disease and Type 2 Diabetes.
For more information on possible future vaccination clinics, visit the CoryellHealth website: https://coryellhealth.org/services/covid-19/covid-19-vaccine-availabilit....