One Shot at a Time

Vaccine+clinic+tent+set+up+by+local+volunteers+at+the+Lacey+fairgrounds.

Vaccine clinic tent set up by local volunteers at the Lacey fairgrounds.

Jillian Johnson, Journalist

     Starting as a brand new hope last year and slowly turning into a right of passage for free items, vaccines have been an integral part of this pandemic for a long time. Health officials all across the state have been working around the clock in various locations to help administer them to as many eligible people as they can. Setting up camp at medical buildings, fairgrounds, and even local schools, these professionals have been helping the most vulnerable first and slowly making their way down the line so that the state can slowly reach that semblance of normalcy the population craves to get back to.

     Even though most people might not have even caught wind of the arrival of vaccines until late 2020, William Lindquist, Medical Assistant Lead for Providence Medical group, has been working closely with them since early March of the year. He has devoted his time to working as a volunteer at Lacey 3 Fire Station ever since healthcare workers were eligible. He confides that his main job is “to implement safe and efficient plans on how to administer available vaccines throughout each stage level, as we slowly return to normal life.” While helping administer the vaccine, he has also noticed some effects that do worry him. “There are currently a handful of people that believe they are vaccinated therefore all risks are now invalid.” Lindquist hopes that, as people continue to get the vaccine, they are still mindful of the CDC guidelines when they choose to go out and about.

     Working alongside Lindquist, Lisa Humprehy, Director of Nursing and Quality, has been leading and coordinating all COVID vaccine activity of Providence Medical group in both Thurston and Lewis County. She says that something positive for her that she’s seen out of this is “how happy people are when they get their vaccine. The hope we see and feel at our vaccine events has given us all a renewed purpose!” Though it is still a bit too early to say whether the vaccines have been truly making the necessary change we need, Humphrey says they have been seeing less and less numbers of people that need the vaccine and patients that have been testing positive from it. One goal she does wish to meet soon is to vaccinate over 2000 people in one day. As a last thought, she says that they are really working hard to “make sure that people know the vaccine is safe, effective and is the fastest way to end the pandemic.”

    Though the Lewis County fairgrounds have found themselves to be a helpful spot for volunteers to set up a driveby vaccine clinic. Rachel Wood, Lewis County Health Officer, says that she had been working as a volunteer there before her retirement in early March and can report back some positive results from her administration. “The number of patients in hospital has gone down, ICU has gone down, and the CDC said that if you are fully vaccinated you don’t have to quarantine anymore and that is helping people who want to get the vaccine.” As many have mentioned, Governor Jay Inslee wanted a goal of 45,000 vaccines a day statewide and that has already been surpassed at around 47,000. It seems that the promise of not being locked inside their homes anymore has been pushing people out to up those numbers. Keeping with her cheery nature, Wood wants people to remember that they should be proud of themselves for all the new partnerships that have come out of this and everyone working together.

    As more and more people are made eligible and decide to go out to get their vaccinations, it’s imperative that society remembers the many health professionals that stress still heeding to COVID guidelines even after one gets their two doses of vaccination. Those who are not eligible for varying different reasons are relying on the ones that are to keep the rest as safe as they can. So whether it be because being stuck at home in quarantine sucks or the promise of a free donut is too much to pass up, go out there and get that vaccine.