Sweetwater County Prepares to Accept COVID-19 Vaccines

Sweetwater County Prepares to Accept COVID-19 Vaccines

Sweetwater County Public Health Director said Sweetwater County should receive the COVID-19 Coronavirus vaccine sometime next week. Zoom photo

ROCK SPRINGS — Sweetwater County should be receiving the first shipment of the COVID-19 Coronavirus vaccine sometime next week.

During a Sweetwater County COVID-19 educational meeting this afternoon, Sweetwater County Public Health Officer Dr. Stachon said five Wyoming counties are receiving the Pfizer vaccine today. This particular vaccine comes in batches of 975.

The other 18 counties, including Sweetwater County, will receive vaccines next week due to the fragility of transporting the vaccine in ultra cold temperatures. The 975 doses arriving today were going to be driven to other counties, such as Sweetwater County, with high numbers, but due to the fragile nature of the virus, the 975 doses will remain in the counties they are initially delivered in.

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Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County Medical Director Dr. Cielette Karn was asked why it is important for residents to receive a vaccine when it’s available. She said in order to obtain heard immunity about 75 to 80 percent population must have either had the vaccine or the virus. She said unfortunately they don’t know if those who get the vaccine can still spread the virus or not.

Dr. Stachon said the county is going through uncharted waters and there are some things it just doesn’t know.

As for who can take the vaccine, it has has been approved for people who are 16 years of age and up, according to Sweetwater County Public Health Director Kim Lionberger.

Sweetwater County should receive around 1,100 doses of the Moderna vaccine next week and more than 1,600 additional vaccine doses by the end of the month, Stachon said.

Lionberger said the numbers keep changing daily on how much the county will receive and when they will receive it. The Moderna vaccine hasn’t been approved by the FDA for emergency use, but it is going through the same process of Pfizer and there is belief it will be approved soon.

“Those numbers can completely change based on many variables,” Lionberger said about the amount of vaccine the county will receive.

Healthcare providers, law enforcement personnel, and people doing testing will be first to receive vaccines, which are optional. Vaccines widely available to the public will not be available yet.

Lionberger said both of the vaccines will go through the same process for approval and the county is ready to accept either vaccine or both.

“We will be getting Pfizer and Moderna in our county,” Lionberger said.

We don’t have vaccine to give to the general public at this time.

~ Sweetwater County Public Health Director Kim Lionberger

However, in the future, more vaccines will be more available.

Rock Springs Mayor Tim Kaumo said it’s frustrating that Sweetwater wasn’t one of the five on the list with how terrible its COVID-19 numbers are.

Rock Springs Councilor Keaton West asked why the county now has an ultra cold freezer when before the elected officials were told they couldn’t get one until January.

Dr. Karn explained why the hospital can now accept the Pfizer vaccine in an ultra cold freezer it already has. She said the current ultra cold freezer is currently used for tissue storage however, they have discovered they can find a way to store both the vaccine and tissue together in the ultra cold freezer, which must be stored in an ultra cold freezer that can keep temperatures around -94 degree Fahrenheit freezer.

Dr. Karn said they have ordered a second ultra cold freezer and it should arrive in January.


THE LATEST COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS NEWS & INFO FROM THE WYOMING DEPT. OF HEALTH

What to do if you feel sick: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and are showing symptoms, please call your primary care provider or seek medical attention.

Please follow these tips to slow the spread of this virus:

  • Follow Public Health Orders
  • Practice social distancing of 6 feet or more.
  • Wear cloth face coverings in public settings, especially when physical distancing of at least 6 feet isn’t available.
  • Stay home when sick and avoid other people unless you need medical attention.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Older people and those with health conditions that mean they have a higher chance of getting seriously ill should avoid close-contact situations.
  • Long-term care and healthcare facilities should follow guidelines for infection control and prevention.

For current news, updates, closures and resources, please visit our COVID-19 Coronavirus page here.