MUSCATINE, Iowa–Efforts to vaccinate Muscatine County residents took a big step forward the week of March 29 when a shipment of 3,700 Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines arrived for distribution to several area manufacturers. With clinics beginning March 31, Trinity Muscatine Public Health and their pharmacy partners went to work vaccinating the employees of several of the region’s largest employers.
According Public Health Director Christy Roby Williams, Hy-Vee will host on-site vaccine clinics for Allsteel, Bayer, HNI, HON, and SSAB, Trinity Muscatine Public Health will vaccinate Musco and Raymond, and Wester Drug will offer vaccines to Carver Pump. Governor Kim Reynold’s current guidance for distributing Johnson & Johnson vaccines mandated these specific companies receive them.
After the Johnson & Johnson vaccines arrived on Monday, March 29 as scheduled, Hy-Vee planed to begin their clinics on Wednesday at Bayer and continue them throughout the following week with clinics at Allsteel April 1; SSAB April 2; a second clinic a Bayer April 5; Allsteel, HNI, and HON April 6, and HNI and HON again April 7. They will also provided doses of Pfizer to GPC April 6 as well. Public Health will held clinics this past Thursday and Friday with Wester Drug offering theirs on Thursday as well.
Though the announcement about the second shipment of Johnson & Johnson vaccines came suddenly, Public Health and all of the businesses in question had already done planning to prepare for holding vaccine clinics. Once the news that the vaccines would arrive eminently came, Public Health turned their attention to working with businesses to set up clinic dates, contacting United Way of Muscatine to get point of delivery volunteers, visiting the businesses in question to determine how best to set up the clinics, and getting data from the employers as to how many individuals wanted to receive vaccines and how many have already gotten theirs.
In the midst of coordinating this next round of vaccination clinics, Roby-Williams welcomed this chance to get more people vaccinated. As Roby-Williams explained it: “we’ve been waiting for vaccines to come. We have the plans and we can set the vaccine clinics up very quickly.”
Even so, Roby-Williams cautioned that any changes in the delivery date of the shipment of COVID-19 vaccines could cause the dates or times of the clinics to change. Anyone who works for one of the selected businesses should watch for communications about the clinics from their employer and contact them, not Public Health or Hy-Vee for specifics.
As vaccination started at Bayer March 31, new Site Manager Silvia Malaman expressed excitement in getting to provide vaccines to Bayer’s employees in all positions. “It’s a very emotional day for me because this is a very important day,” she stated. “For us at Bayer, we really value protecting people because we know that our business is made up of people.”
At the same clinic, Bayer Occupational Health Nurse Jennifer Livermore along with two Hy-Vee pharmacists, two nurses, and Store Director Matt Schweizer coordinated to get vaccines numerous employees. Schweizer appreciated the opportunity for Hy-Vee to begin getting Johnson & Johnson vaccines to more essential workers. “It’s great to be part of the community and to help other companies in town; Bayer is a great community partner, and we’re happy to help keep their staff safe.”