First COVID-19 vaccines given in Sublette County

Sublette County Public Health nurse Robin Carnes, right, prepares to administer the first Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Sublette County to Public Health Officer Dr. Brendan Fitzsimmons on Dec. 29. Robert Galbreath photo

Sublette County Public Health Officer Dr. Brendan Fitzsimmons received the first Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the county on Dec. 29 at the Marbleton Clinic. Other providers at the clinic and first responders in the community followed suit, receiving their shots minutes later.Public Health Nurse manager Janna Lee prepared the vaccines and Robin Carnes, a public health nurse, administered the jab. Public Health received 200 shots in the first batch and planned to deliver 50 vaccines this week, followed by another 100 the following week. Medical providers, first responders and staff at assisted living facilities will receive the first batch, Lee said. Companies are still producing the vaccine, and there are not enough shots to cover the entire population at this time.The Wyoming Department of Health’s Medical Ethics Committee established several phases to prioritize who receives the shots based on CDC guidelines, Lee added. The vaccine is given in two separate doses spaced 28 days apart. The first shot provides up to 60 percent protection against COVID-19, Fitzsimmons said. The second dose increases the body’s ability to fight the disease to 94.5 percent, he added.Ordinary flu vaccines typically range from 30-80 percent in effectiveness, Fitzsimmons explained. A jab with the potential to protect over 94 percent of people from a deadly virus makes providers “very happy,” he said.People taking the first COVID-19 vaccines can download an app called “V-Safe after vaccination health checker,” allowing the CDC to digitally monitor side effects.Moderna’s vaccine went through the same “rigorous trials” that other vaccines must go through to get federal approval, Lee explained. Because COVID-19 is so widespread, organizing studies and tracking the virus and vaccine is easier than studying a virus like Ebola that strikes a limited number of people in isolated locations, Lee explained.The vaccine is approved only for adults over the age of 18 because no studies have been carried out on youth and children under 18, Lee said.During the mandatory post-shot 15-minute wait, the providers and first responders celebrated – one of the first opportunities to do so in months.“We’re extremely excited about this day,” Fitzsimmons said. “We’re looking forward to getting more and more people vaccinated. We see this as the light at the end of the tunnel and ultimately the answer to the problems COVID has given us – people getting sick, people dying, all the lockdowns, keeping schools going – all of that leads to this vaccination.”The vaccine “did not hurt,” Fitzsimmons added, although he attributed that fact partly to Carnes’ skill at giving shots. Lee agreed, stating that “it didn’t sting as badly as I thought.”If anyone has concerns or questions about the vaccine, they are encouraged to contact their provider or call Public Health at 307-367-2157.the body’s ability to fight the disease to 94.5 percent, he added.Ordinary flu vaccines typically range from 30-80 percent in effectiveness, Fitzsimmons explained. A jab with the potential to protect over 94 percent of people from a deadly virus makes providers “very happy,” he said.People taking the first COVID-19 vaccines can download an app called “V-Safe after vaccination health checker,” allowing the CDC to digitally monitor side effects.Moderna’s vaccine went through the same “rigorous trials” that other vaccines must go through to get federal approval, Lee explained. Because COVID-19 is so widespread, organizing studies and tracking the virus and vaccine is easier than studying a virus like Ebola that strikes a limited number of people in isolated locations, Lee explained.The vaccine is approved only for adults over the age of 18 because no studies have been carried out on youth and children under 18, Lee said.During the mandatory post-shot 15-minute wait, the providers and first responders celebrated – one of the first opportunities to do so in months.“We’re extremely excited about this day,” Fitzsimmons said. “We’re looking forward to getting more and more people vaccinated. We

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