COVID vaccine could arrive here Monday

First responders could be vaccinated Tuesday

It’s possible that Boyle County will receive doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, and begin inoculating first responders on Tuesday.

Late Thursday afternoon, Boyle County Health Department Director Brent Blevins said he was hoping that the Federal Drug Administration would give emergency approval for the Moderna vaccine sometime Thursday night. By Friday (today) the state should notify Blevins how many doses the health department would be receiving, if any.

“If and hopefully,” the vaccines are delivered by Monday, he, along with Boyle County Emergency Management Director Mike Wilder, have a distribution schedule in place, Blevins said.

Tentatively, all first responders, including EMS staff, city and county fire fighters, and police officers and sheriff’s deputies will be the first ones to get the vaccine beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 22 at the Woodlawn Elementary School gym, Blevins said.

The agencies have already been given their appointment times on either Tuesday or Wednesday, Blevins said. They will enter through one door, fill out a short form which will take about 30 seconds, walk in for the vaccination, then take a seat in the bleachers, socially distanced of course, for about 15 minutes, he explained. Before leaving, they will also be handed a card stating when the second inoculation should take place, which is in about 20 days, Blevins said.

Because this is a new vaccine, unlike the flu vaccine, it’s normal protocol for the public to be required to wait for several minutes before leaving, he said.

If the health department receives enough first-round doses, Blevins plans on using them to vaccinate the Northpoint Training Center and Boyle County Detention Center staff on their respective locations.

If more doses are still available, the health department will begin vaccinating healthcare workers, who are not associated with Ephraim McDowell Health, Blevins said. EMH employees will be offered the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination through the company, and not through the health department, he explained.

Boyle County Judge-Executive Howard Hunt said in a news release, “This will be an historic event for our community. On behalf of all Boyle Countians, I extend our sincere gratitude to Brent Blevins and Mike Wilder for their work on securing the vaccines for our first responders. I will certainly sleep better at night knowing our employees are protected.”

When making the vaccine announcement during the fiscal court meeting Thursday morning, Wilder noted that even though they are planning to vaccinate first responders beginning on Tuesday, “things can change.”

But if their plan goes as scheduled, “I encourage all of our front line responders to seriously consider taking the vaccine. I already have my consent form filled out,” Wilder said. “I wouldn’t care to be No. 1 to get the vaccine.”

Blevins said the health department has had many “trial runs” on vaccinating large groups of people because of its frequent flu vaccine drive-thru clinics. “We know how to do these kinds of things. We know what to do and how to do it, and we have the personnel.”

“We are ready right now,” Blevins said. “All we need are the doses.”