COVID vaccine arrives in Park County

Health care workers start getting vaccinated Wednesday
By 
Elias Baer — Enterprise Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
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Dr. Doyle Coleman, chief medical officer at Livingston HealthCare, receives the first of 400 COVID-19 vaccines allocated to the hospital. Infection Prevention Employee Health Nurse Cidnee Morrison administers the dose.

Enterprise photos by Elias Baer

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Infection Prevention Employee Health Nurse Cidnee Morrison holds a vial of the Moderna vaccine received by Livingston HealthCare.

Dr. Doyle Coleman, chief medical officer at Livingston HealthCare,  received the first of 400 COVID-19 vaccines supplied to the hospital by Moderna Wednesday.
Infection Prevention Employee Health Nurse Cidnee Morrison administered the vaccine in a small room crowded with news cameras and microphones recording the momentous event. 

“It was that easy,” Coleman quipped upon receiving the shot. 

The vaccination was ceremonious, but not without cause. Coleman said he hopes that “what we’re doing today will inspire others to go out and take the vaccine.”

Vaccinations will be available in phases. The first tier, 1A, covers “critical infrastructure workforce,” including health care personnel, according to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services COVID vaccination plan. 

“We did a survey of all frontline health care workers, and we were allocated 400,” LHC CEO Deb Anczak said. 

Locally, the first 400 doses will go to hospital employees, according to Anczak, in accordance with the CDC’s official phased approach to vaccination allocation.

Meanwhile, Community Health Partners CEO Lander Cooney said that CHP received 200 Moderna vaccines.

“The 200 vaccines will be for all of our CHP employees spanning every CHP location,” Cooney said. “We are all very excited. We just started vaccinations today. It’s a big step in the right direction.” 

Coleman said that, between the 400 doses received by LHC and the 200 received by CHP, “I think that we will be able to vaccinate everyone in the community who falls under tier 1A as laid out by the CDC.”

Coleman said the hospital staff has known about the vaccine delivery for the past two weeks, but didn’t have any idea how many they would get. 

“Tremendous anticipation,” Coleman said. “We really didn’t know, until unpacking the boxes, just how many vaccines we would be receiving.”

Coleman addressed the concern some people have about getting the vaccine. 

“I think there is understandable apprehension,” he said. “What we’re asking for is a huge thing. What we’re asking, essentially, is that you go first.”

But Coleman’s hope is that people will see the vaccine in action and gain optimism about the future.

Coleman said he hopes the vaccination event Monday inspires others to get the vaccine.

Coleman said there is a ways to go before daylight shines through the pandemic, but daylight is coming. 

“I want the health and safety of our community back,” Coleman said. “I want the health and safety of our workers back. And I want my life back.” 

As of right now, there are no vaccines available to the general public in Park County, but Coleman emphasized the importance of patience in these times. 

“The supply and delivery of the vaccine is completely controlled by the government,” Coleman said. “We are not harboring vaccines. We want to get it into arms the minute it arrives. There is no waiting list; we don’t even know when the next shipment arrives. But when it does, know that we are ready and that the community will know as soon as the vaccines arrive.”

For more information about the Montana vaccine plan, visit ww.dphhs.mt.gov.