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Supervisors Discuss Frustrations Over COVID Vaccine Scheduling

By Joseph Schany - | Feb 18, 2021

by Joseph Schany

“We have seen a little bit of an increase,” began Sarah Strohman, director of Palo Alto County Public Health, providing an update on county COVID-19 numbers to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning. “We currently have 33 active cases of COVID-19 in the county and a 14-day average of 10 percent. We’ve had 19 deaths in Palo Alto County.”

Public Health held its first county COVID vaccination clinic at the VFW in Emmetsburg on Tuesday, Feb. 9, and according to Strohman, the clinic was very successful.

“We had our VFW clinic for 65 and older and vaccinated 200 people that day. It was a huge success. We’ve already got their appointments made for their booster vaccine in March. That worked very well.”

Strohman noted that as vaccine doses continue to trickle into the county, more clinics will be made available down the road.

“We continue to just get 100 doses a week,” she informed the Board. “I’m working every other week so this week my focus is on the 80 and older population. Next week, the doses will go to a school. I’m trying to get all the schools done and then once they are finished, I will be vaccinating daycare staff.”

Continued Strohman, “We will continue that pattern every other week through the first week of March. The state is telling us we should anticipate getting more doses starting in March. If that does come to fruition we will hopefully be holding clinics once a week for the 65 and older population.”

Currently, the next scheduled clinic for the 65 and older population is set for the first week of March at the Graettinger clinic.

“We are just telling people to watch Facebook (Palo Alto County Health System, Iowa) for those updates and when to call for appointments,” explained Strohman.

Supervisor Roger Faulstick asked, “What do people do if they don’t do Facebook?”

“We are just asking that a family member or a friend who has Facebook take ownership on watching that Facebook page and keeping them updated,” replied Strohman. “We’ve moved away from publishing the clinics in the paper because there is a delay by the time it hits the public and we want to make sure everybody gets the information as quickly as possible.”

The supervisors pointed out frustrations that have arisen among some residents of Palo Alto County with accessing clinic information through Facebook, noting that many in the 65 and over age group would rather call.

“You have to keep watching Facebook and people don’t know how to get on Facebook,” said Supervisor Ron Graettinger. “That’s where the problem is. I think we need to have a waiting list or something.”

Added Supervisor Keith Wirtz, “I would just think there has to be a way people can call in and get an appointment or at least get on a list.”

Read the full article in The Democrat.