GREENSBURG – Shortly after 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 11, the first Decatur County resident was vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
The largest vaccine campaign in U.S. history was marked locally when Evelyn Divenzio, 80, received her first measured dosage of the Moderna vaccine. In 28 days, she’ll return to the Health Department to receive her second installment.
“I think that it’s important that everyone has one. When they started, I was in doubt that I wanted it, but ... I decided to have it,” she said. “I think everyone should.”
“We can do twenty per hour, and we are operating 9 to 2 today,” said the Sean Durbin of the Decatur County Health Department. “So we are completely full.”
Durbin said the first round of vaccinations are for 80-year-olds and up, health care workers and first responders.
“Then it will be 70 plus and then 60 plus. That’s all we know, that’s all they’ve told us,” he said.
Durbin said that the biggest concern with local distribution of the vaccine is availability.
“We just don’t have enough doses to open it up to the general public,” he said.
One hundred forty vaccinations will be given early this week, and then another 100 will be made available to Decatur County every Monday.
“Hopefully that will increase, we don’t know yet,” Durbin said.
The 28 day wait after the initial vaccine dosage gives the body time to adjust.
“It’s like a booster shot,” Durbin explained. “Like when you have to get your second tetanus shot after 10 years. So it’s like a 28 day booster shot.”
Durbin said the first dose gives some immunity, but after the second shot 95 percent immunity from the COVID-19 virus is achieved.
“We know that after the second dose you can’t become ill from exposure, but you may still expel enough virus that you can contaminate someone else,” he said. “In an ideal situation you’ve got yours and I’ve got mine. That’s when we can start losing the masks and isolating ourselves. When we have enough people that have had COVID or have been vaccinated against it, that’s when the pandemic will start to end. I’ve heard that herd immunity becomes effective when from 65 to 85 percen of the people have beeb vaccinated. We’ve heard so many figures, but with 85 percent this thing would be over. COVID would be gone. ... That’s what this is all about.”