Holmes County Health Dept. administers vaccine to those 65 years and older, along with health care workers

The Moderna vaccine was administered to those eligible by drive thru.
Published: Dec. 30, 2020 at 5:57 PM CST
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Some of the first vaccines being handed out to nonhealthcare workers happening in the panhandle.

Moderna vaccines were administered in Washington County, Holmes County and Jackson County on Wednesday to those who are 65 years or older and health care workers.

“I am so glad to get this,” Marie Easterling, vaccine receiver said.

A line that started to form at 7:30 Wednesday morning at the Holmes County Health Department Annex, but vaccines were not scheduled to get administered until 9:00. Hundreds waited hours to get their vaccine.

Marie Easterling is 78 years old. She has waited for this vaccine for not just hours, but for months.

She has been in her home since March, but she is not completely alone…

“They’ll (family) come and bear the weather and they’ll sit on my back porch and I sit in the kitchen with the door open, but I can’t hug them and everything,” Marie Easterling said. “After this is all over, I can hug them.”

Getting through the pandemic with help from her family, and her son, Frank Easterling.

“We do all of her shopping and everything else,” Frank Easterling said. “Of course, anything that we purchase for her we don’t take into her house, we put it on the porch on the deck and disinfect it. Just doing everything in the world we can to protect her.”

With the anticipation building while in line, now a light at the end of the tunnel is shining through.

“After the vaccination and the time frame that is allotted for everyone’s immunity to build up, that life returns to normal,” Frank Easterling.

A virus the state has been battling since March, several have been eager to see this day.

“We’ve been working flat out for many, many months, it’s become part of our everyday life,” Sandy Martin, Interim Administrator Florida Department of Health in Holmes County said. “We are very excited the vaccine is here; we are very excited that it is effective, and we are very excited to get it to our public.”

Martin said they can handle more than one person at a time, but not the volume of several hundred in a short period of time.

“We were expecting of a little more of a controlled turnout this morning, because we had not widely advertised that we had the vaccine available,” Martin said. “What we like to do is start a bit of a practice run so we can get our processes down.”

There is a 15-minute wait time after each vaccine is administered in case of medical reaction. Martin said they would prefer administering the vaccine by appointments to keep the line small and they will be doing that moving forward as they continue administering next week.

To make an appointment to receive the vaccine call the Holmes County Health Department at 850-547-8500.

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