For many months the Excelsior Springs Hospital staff members have been preparing for the arrival of the vaccinations for COVID-19. On Friday, February 5, 2021, that day finally arrived, when a donation of 240 doses of the Pfizer vaccine was gifted to the community from North Kansas City Hospital.
“We have been planning to receive doses from the State of Missouri for COVID vaccinations for well over a month,” explained Angela Ochoa, Infection Prevention Specialist for Excelsior Springs Hospital. “Not knowing when we might get doses, we went ahead and put plans into place and gathered information on what we would need when we did get those doses.”
With plans already in place, within 24 hours of receiving notice that doses would be delivered, hospital staff worked to get a vaccination clinic set up at Dr. Andrew Pickett and Dr. Theodore Baldwin’s previous address on West Jesse James Road.
Given the limited turnaround time, the hospital also worked with City officials and area emergency responders in order to immunize Fire, Police, and EMT front line workers in the community.
“This is the first opportunity we have had to be vaccinated,” Excelsior Springs Police Chief Clint Reno explained while waiting for his turn for a shot. “We’ve been responding to calls for those who are dead on arrival, some of those COVID, some not. But we never know what we’re walking into.”
In addition to securing the city infrastructure’s essential workers, local physicians were also contacted to reach out to older patients that live in the area and get them an appointment for vaccination, too.
Dr. Erin Schreier, a local Family Practice Physician said, “We were very fortunate yesterday to have Kristen DeHart, the CEO of the Excelsior Springs Hospital reach out to us and we were able to get 25 of our patients from our clinic in today to get their COVID vaccine.”
Among those coming through the clinic was Dr. Theodore Baldwin, who had donated the space for the clinic to be possible. After getting his shot, Dr. Baldwin said, “I just wanted to remind everybody to get their coronavirus shot. It’s very important for the community and your own health.”
While this clinic was only given a limited amount of vaccines, city leaders are hoping that the smooth operation of their first run will grant additional vaccines down the road.
“Hospital staff did a wonderful job of setting the stage early so we were ready to respond when given doses. With today’s success, we hope it will show the county that we are capable of administering vaccines directly here in the community, in order to help those who lack adequate transportation to get to the Northland vaccination site,” said Excelsior Springs Hospital CEO Kristen DeHart.
Individuals wishing to receive a vaccine are encouraged to reach out to their county’s public health department to sign an interest form. Citizens will then be contacted to make an appointment when a vaccine becomes available for their phase. Clay County residents may submit an interest form online at clayhealth.com/covidvaccination and Ray County residents are encouraged to call 816-776-5413 to be placed on a waiting list.