WEST JEFFERSON — A second mass vaccination event was held at Ashe County High School on Saturday, Feb. 20, with 520 second doses of the Moderna vaccine were administered at the clinic.

The first mass vaccination at ACHS was held on Jan. 23. Those vaccinated at the January event were invited back to get their second dose on Feb. 20.

According to AppHealthCare in a statement, the mass vaccination clinic was only for second dose appointments due to weather and shipping delays out of its control. The regional health department was still able to offer the majority of its second dose appointments the week of Feb. 15 because there were already vaccines on-site.

Originally, it was planned for additional appointments to become available for first doses to also be administered because AppHealthCare expected to receive an increased vaccine supply.

Several local partners, organizations and individual volunteers helped make the Feb. 20 event a success.

This included Ashe Emergency Management, Ashe Memorial Hospital, Ashe County Government, Ashe County Schools, Ashe County Sheriffs Office, Ashe Medics, Ashe County Chamber of Commerce, West Jefferson Fire Department and West Jefferson Police Department.

AppHealthCare Director Jennifer Greene said the event went smoothly, adding that the overall process was quicker since there is less paperwork to complete with second doses.

Upon arriving at their scheduled appointment time, people checked in with Ashe Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kitty Honeycutt and Clerk to the BOC Ashley Honeycutt who managed the list.

If someone arrived who was not on the list, they were provided with information about how to complete the COVID-19 interest form on AppHealthCare’s website.

Once they entered the gym, people handed their vaccine cards to one of the volunteers and completed a questionnaire with the volunteer. These questions include information such as name, age, previous allergic reactions or pre-existing health conditions.

After completing the questionnaire, people were directed to one of the vaccination stations where they gave both their vaccine card and completed paperwork to a volunteer. The volunteer at the station reviewed the completed questionnaire with the patient and ensured that any history of allergic reactions to vaccines was addressed. If a person experienced any adverse reactions to a vaccine in the past, they are asked to wait 30 minutes instead of the routine 15 minutes. Those who are on blood thinners are also asked to wait an additional 15 minutes before leaving the clinic.

Once they are vaccinated, other members of AppHealthCare staff are provided with a note of how long the patient has to wait and what time they are to leave. This information is documented on a piece of paper which is provided to other staff members who enter documentation about each patient who received their second dose into a live database.

At the Feb. 20 event, while waiting their allotted time after being vaccinated, people were given an opportunity to fill out AppHealthCare’s Community Health Needs assessment.

The CHA is compiled every three years in partnership with local hospitals and community coalitions. The goal of the survey is to identify health priorities that will guide the work of Alleghany, Ashe and Watauga counties.

According to Greene, Warrensville Drug will receive their first shipment of vaccines the week of Feb. 22. AppHealthCare will be working with them by pulling some of the appointments from completed interest forms, which will expedite some of the wait times.

Due to the overwhelming volume of phone calls AppHealthCare has been making and receiving, Greene said they are planning to add to their phone system within the next month.

Beginning Feb. 24, education and childcare staff, pre-K through 12th grade, will be eligible for vaccine.

According to AppHealthCare, vaccine allocation, in addition to the county’s allocation to other vaccinating providers overall has increased. Therefore, more doses will be available to administer. According to AppHealthCare, if someone is eligible for a vaccine in Group 1 or Group 2 and would like their vaccine, those individuals will still be prioritized.

Greene said there is a planned vaccination event in the works for Ashe County teachers at Ashe Civic Center.

Ashe County Schools is proud to partner with AppHealth to provide space, resources, and nurses/volunteers to ensure that our community can be vaccinated,” said Superintendent Dr. Eisa Cox. “The event last month was a success and we are hopeful that our community will receive vaccines to conduct more events in the future.”

Cox added that she is glad the school system was able to show support since their teachers and staff will soon be vaccinated by AppHealthCare. She also said AppHealthCare has been a great partner for ACS to work with.

Among those volunteering at the event were Ashe County Manager Adam Stumb and BOC Chairman Todd McNeill.

McNeill helped out wherever he was needed, both directing traffic in the parking lot and providing assistance inside.

“I feel it has been an extremely efficient event, no lines to speak of and people have moved through pretty smoothly,” McNeill said.

Stumb also commented on how smoothly both events ran and how much positive feedback he heard from those who received vaccines.

Two individuals who made great contributions at both vaccination events were Don and MaryAnne Moore of McDonald’s, who provided a generous amount of meals.

“We’ve enjoyed being involved, this is a way we can give back to the community that supports us,” MaryAnne Moore said.

“We appreciate everyone who has volunteered to make this event a huge success,” Don Moore said.

Those interested in filling out the vaccination interest form can do so by visiting AppHealthCare’s website at www.apphealthcare.com.{span class=”print_trim”}

To access the form, click HERE.

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