Don’t hesitate, vaccinate

Adam Rubin

Public mass vaccination has taken the dedication, resilience and cooperation of local health professionals.

As the country moves through this vaccination process together, there are some steps toward progress that many may not be aware of or perhaps just aren’t thinking about.

Dalan Hilton is the continuous improvement leader at Intermountain Healthcare and oversees all of Northern Utah and Melissa Call is the marketing and communications manager at McKay-Dee Hospital. Both Hilton and Call are well-entrenched in the frontlines of the ongoing mass vaccination solution here in Utah.

There are seven locations throughout Utah that Intermountain Healthcare is using as campuses to administer doses for the public.

Depending on how many doses of the vaccine are granted to Intermountain Healthcare from the state of Utah, caregivers and medical providers are administering nearly 1,300 doses per week.

“At McKay-Dee, we are scheduling 30 patients every 15 minutes, so we’re doing 120 per hour,” Hilton said.

Patients can register online and use the website to ensure that all communication is efficient between the medical professionals and other caregivers. They fill out a survey with personal health-related questions, select their time, location, get their vaccinations and after a 15-minute waiting period for observation, patients can get back to their normal routines.

During the 15-minute observation period, medical staff look over personal information, check for any allergic reactions and make sure that each patient is vaccinated without any medical emergency.

Mostly, Hilton explained, there have just been rashes and sight redness from the injection.

“I’ve helped with vaccines starting back in December,” Hilton said. “We’ve got to be right around 9,000 to 10,000 now, and I can think of one reaction where we had to have some intervention in the emergency department.”

Negative reactions to vaccines do exist, yet medical workers are prepared with anti-allergenics and are able to proceed with the proper protocol for those incidents.

As the public depends on medical personnel for the bettering of our community’s health, there are still concerns. People call Intermountain Healthcare with questions regarding the differences between the available vaccinations, differences between side-effects and other concerns about getting their vaccinations.

Call described how the environment, or the climate of concern, has changed since the initial outbreak, and has notes written and posted on her wall by caring members of the community to help keep their caregivers going.

“I think the word to use is ‘camaraderie.’ What we saw was our team members pull together and support each other, and then we saw the community do the same thing. It’s really those tender moments that kept the team going,” Call said.

Now that people are getting their vaccinations and preparing to move past the experience, there are some things that might be worth considering.

“One thing that I’d like people to keep in mind is that vaccines are not effective immediately and may take a few weeks,” Call said.

In December at Intermountain, there were several physicians getting their vaccinations, and after having worked with these medical personnel for some time, both Call and Hilton stated that this brought them a sense of optimism about getting the vaccination because they trust them with the healthcare of their loved ones.

“It is now time for the younger generation to get vaccinated, and we hope that they know that it is easy, it’s a streamlined process and that there are medical providers overseeing this. It’s something that will help us all,” Call said.

Ryan Perkins, emergency service coordinator at Ogden City Fire Department, works closely with the medical caregivers in the area at Intermountain Healthcare and was the one-man team responsible for mitigation and management of any disaster that may have come the hospital’s way when the pandemic hit. As soon as Perkins started considering COVID-19, one of his main focuses was looking at things like recovery and how to bounce back from a disaster like this.

Perkins explained how they are currently seeing people calling around and scheduling several appointments looking for a specific vaccine and not canceling the other appointments that they have made. The vaccines need to be used within a certain amount of time before they are no longer safe for use.

“Get the vaccine when you can,” Perkins said. “But make sure you cancel the other appointments for other people.”