Vaccinations begin at fairgrounds. Historic inoculation clinic opens in Hendricks County

Personnel from Hendricks Regional Health received the first vaccines at the opening of the COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds and Conference Complex. Receiving the first doses are, from left, respiratory therapist Greg Taylor, intensive care unit nurse Jennifer Simon, director of Marketing Carrie Meyer, emergency physician Thomas Richardson, Anne Salerno of support services, and Dr. Ryan Van Donselaar. (Photo by Gus Pearcy)

By Gus Pearcy

Hendricks Regional Health President and  CEO Kevin Speer marked the occasion of the opening of the vaccine clinic Friday morning by saying, “Today, we start fighting back.” 
With that, the health provider began vaccinating 975 health care workers in Hendricks and Putnam counties in Phase 1 of the mass inoculation program to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
On Friday, the clinic opened with a brief ceremony and six front-line workers at HRH received the vaccine.
The clinic will run for the next eight weeks at the Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds and Conference Complex. Thousands of health care workers from hospitals and nursing homes who have registered on the Indiana State Department of Health’s registration site will be vaccinated. 
Carrie Meyer, director of marketing at HRH said the ISDH notified those eligible for the vaccine by email to give them a link to register and set an appointment.
“They go sit for 15 minutes and we observe them for signs or symptoms of an adverse reaction,” Dr. Michelle Fenoughty said. “Although that is very very rare. Especially with people who’ve had vaccines before. 
“That’s not a recommendation for COVID, it’s a recommendation for all vaccines,” she added. “We want (them) to schedule (their) next vaccination in 21 days.”
Shane Sommers, vice president of professional services with HRH, said the vaccine is kept at super-cold temperatures until a few hours before it is given.
“In an 80 pound unit surrounded by dry ice,” Sommers said. “It’s basically (kept at) negative 65 to negative 90 (degrees). We have specific time frames at which we can pull it out and at that time it has to be reconstituted with saline. Once we’ve done that, we have a clock start ticking on how fast it has to be given.”
Sommers said each vial contains six doses and the timing is critical because each one is “a big deal.”
More than 220 volunteers are assisting the medical personnel at the clinic, Meyer said. On the HRH website, visitors may click on the COVID-19 update at the top and then sign up to help at the clinic. The website is http://hendricks.org