More than 700 individuals received the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during a mass vaccination clinic on Thursday at Christensen Field.
The clinic, hosted by Methodist Fremont Health, was available to any individual 18 years or older who lived or worked in Dodge County and wanted to receive their COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Janae Dudgeon, a family medicine physician at Methodist Physicians Clinic, said the event went smoothly.
“The only way we’re going to stop this is if we get herd immunity, so that’s either from infection or vaccination,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll get enough people vaccinated so we can stop the spread and stop the new strains from spreading.”
To this point, almost 33,000 vaccines have been administered across the Three Rivers Public Health jurisdiction.
This week, the public health department reported that its vaccine allotment increased to 2,600 doses, and 700 of those doses went to Methodist Fremont Health.
The mass vaccination clinic also comes at a time when cases have increased throughout the Three Rivers Public Health jurisdiction.
The jurisdiction’s risk dial increased this week from 2.14 to 2.29 due to an increase in COVID-19 cases across the area.
The dial is color-coded, with green being low, yellow being moderate, orange being high and red being severe. The dials are also given a number range, with low being below .5, moderate being .5 to 2, high being 2 to 3.5 and severe being 3.5 to 4.
“It’s kind of race of who is going to win,” Dudgeon said. “Is it going to be the variant strains or is it going to be that we have enough immunity that we stop those strains from spreading? It’s really important to get it now to get everybody who is eligible to get it.”
In her own clinic, Dudgeon said she has seen an increase in calls regarding positive COVID-19 cases.
“It does seem like it is on the rise,” she said.
Dudgeon said one of the most common concerns she hears regarding the vaccine is the potential for long-term side effects. She said health care professionals have had the chance to observe any potential adverse effects since vaccinations began three months ago.
“It’s pretty safe,” she said. “But if people have any questions, I’m happy to have those discussions with patients and talk through things and a lot of the time we can alleviate those fears and worries.”
The vaccination process typically takes anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour, according to Amy Fachman, senior account manager of marketing for Methodist Fremont Health.
“Now that we’re getting a younger, more mobile crowd, it seems like we’re moving a little bit faster,” Fachman said. “It also depends on if we have enough people that have volunteered to help.”
This is the second mass vaccination event to be held in Fremont since the Three Rivers Public Health jurisdiction began allowing individuals 18 years and older to receive the vaccine.
“We’ve gotten so much positive reaction from the public,” Fachman said. “It’s been really uplifting for all of us who have been volunteering because it makes us feel good. We’re getting shots in arms and helping people.”
Fremont resident Barb Romans was one of the 700-plus individuals to receive her first dose of the Moderna vaccine on Thursday.
Romans battled COVID-19 in August and said she was always confident that she would receive the vaccine once it became available to her.
“I just want to go out a little more and get back to normal,” she said. “I’ve been avoiding that.”