Marshall County successful in vaccine effort

Vaccines for the COVID-19 virus became available on a limited basis toward the end of 2020, beginning of 2021. And Marshall County was in line to get shipments so residents could be inoculated.

Waiting in that line and leading the way was Marshall County Public Health Nurse Pat Thompson.

In the beginning, the number of vaccines was limited, with shipments of 500 doses or less each week. Thompson and the vaccination partners would have all of those slots filled within 24 hours or less.

She worked with various entities throughout Marshall County to schedule vaccine clinics and get as many people vaccinated as possible.

Her vaccination partners included UnityPoint Health, McFarland, Primary Health Care and Hy-Vee.

“Since the beginning, our group of vaccine partners meet once a week via Zoom,” Thompson said.

However, those were not the only players involved. Thompson said some vaccine leaders in Marshalltown were JBS and the Iowa Veterans Home.

“This has truly been a team effort,” Thompson said.

Throughout 2021, Thompson could be seen at locations and events such as the Marshall County Public Library, Supermarket Villachuato, the Rose Festival in State Center, the Central Iowa Fairgrounds and more, with her cooler full of the vaccine and paperwork for recipients to fill out.

Library Director Sarah Rosenblum said she was happy to work with the county for the vaccine effort.

“She regularly gets a few people here every week,” she said. “We were pleased to provide a space and people feel comfortable coming here.”

Throughout the effort, Thompson provided Moderna and Pfizer vaccinations to the health care providers. After the Johnson & Johnson one-shot became available, those were more difficult to acquire. However, as more people got vaccinated against COVID-19, the easier it became for Thompson to get.

Sometimes vaccine shipments did not have to go through Thompson first. JBS managed to get J&J vaccines for more than 100 employees earlier in the year. On July 24, JBS hosted a community vaccine clinic.

As 2021 has progressed, Thompson has witnessed a significant decline in the number of people requesting vaccines. She is confident the Marshall County effort has vaccinated a high percentage of residents.

While people ease their way toward her vaccine stand – wherever it may be – some still have questions or concerns. Thompson assured the vaccines are safe.

“Now we have plenty of vaccines. We are not going to run out,” she said. “It is not too late for the people who want to get it. But do it sooner rather than later. Get it now. Don’t wait.”

Contact Lana Bradstream at 641-753-6611 or lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.


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