TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Partnering with the South Central Public Central Health District, Minidoka Memorial Hospital administered vaccines to the majority of teachers and staff in a coordinated effort with Cassia and Minidoka County School Districts.
The health district provided the vaccines, and Minidoka Memorial provided the staffing. The hospital has been administering vaccines since December and has operated a couple of smaller clinics for trial and error purposes.
A staff of nearly 30 people who'd previously staffed smaller clinics helped vaccination efforts at the school districts.
"We had a check-in station, we had runners, we had people entering into the databases for vaccines, we had administers, and we had scribes. So, overall we had teams that we had set up, and these teams made it work efficiently to be able to do it," said Sara Zielinski, Minidoka Memorial's Chief Nursing Officer.
Minidoka Memorial and school district officials were able to vaccinate over 500 teachers and staff. Those involved say it feels like a step toward normalcy.
"Teachers have been under so much stress, and we all want our children back in school. We know the benefits of in-person learning. So, overall I was very happy that we were able to not only cover Minidoka and Cassia County, but just everyone collectively came together to make that happen," said Zielinski.
Minidoka School District staff accounted for just over 200 of the vaccinations. Superintendent James Ramsey says that will help point morale in the right direction.
"People are feeling more secure. It's just a step back to where we were before this virus became known," said Ramsey.
After the success of this clinic, Minidoka Memorial is already working on putting together another large vaccination clinic. They hope to have something in the works soon as the next priority group--adults 65 and up--will be eligible for vaccinations starting February 1st.
"We have a large population to serve of that 65 and over, so it takes a lot of planning on that side to be able to make that happen again. It's going to be in the first week or two of February where we hope to do a big, mass clinic," said Zielinski.
With more priority groups starting to receive vaccinations, health officials want to remind those residents to receive the second dosage to make it more than 95% effective in protecting themselves from COVID.