Winn Community Health Unit (WCHU), a member of the Trinity Community Health Centers, is the only healthcare facility in Winn Parish to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to Trinity Community Health Centers CEO Deano Thornton, WCHO received the first batch of vaccines the last week of December. Since that time, WCHO has administered 240 vaccines to their patients in Winn Parish.
Per LDH guidelines, vaccines are only available to patients that fall into phase 1B, Tier 1 category, which are:
- Persons ages 70 years or older in the community,
- Outpatient clinic providers and clinic staff,
- Urgent care clinic providers and staff,
- Community care clinic providers and staff,
- Behavioral health providers and staff,
- Dialysis providers and patients,
- Home health service providers and recipients,
- Dental providers and staff, and
- Students, residents, faculty, and staff of allied health schools (if not already receiving the vaccine or in a plan to receive it from their respective schools)
With limited doses available at this time, WCHU has been contacting their existing patients first to schedule appointments to receive the vaccine. Scheduling patients has been challenging for providers. Each vial has ten doses and lasts only 6 hours; therefore, ten patients must be scheduled. If one patient doesn’t show, the facility must find a patient that falls into the eligibility guidelines that will quickly come in and take the vaccine. So, far the facility has successfully found people and has not had to discard any un-used doses of the vaccine.
There is no charge for the vaccine. However, WCHU requires a medical visit when patients receive the vaccine. Therefore patients should expect to pay for a medical visit.
WCHU is administering the Moderna version of the vaccine. Which, according to Thornton, does not require mixing or to be stored in extreme cold. According to the CDC, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine:
- Requires two shots, one month (28 days) apart
- It is given in the muscle of the upper arm.
- It does not contain Eggs, Preservatives, or Latex.
- It is recommended for people aged 18 years and older.
- Side effects include pain, swelling, redness at the injection site, and chill, tiredness, and headache throughout the rest of your body. These side effects usually start within a day or two of getting the vaccine. They might feel like flu symptoms and might even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.
“We ask that people be patient, contact the WCHU office to be put on the list for an appointment, remember this is a marathon, not a race. And as always, wear a mask and practice all social distancing guidelines,” said Thornton.