Moderna vaccine

Courtesy photo

County health department officials could begin administering Moderna vaccine shots as early as next week.

JASPER COUNTY — A limited number of vaccine vials to combat COVID is scheduled to be rolled out in Jasper County on Monday, Jan. 11.

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will be administered at the Jasper County Health Department to first responders in the police and fire departments as part of the first phase, said Kristin Louck, communicable and infectious disease nurse at the county health department.

EMS and any other front-line healthcare personnel will also receive the vaccine at this time.

“We’re hopeful to start giving that out on Tuesday (Jan. 12),” she said. “We’re not going to get a lot of the vaccine at that time due to the distribution to the state. We’ll get more updates as the week goes on, but as of right now, the first group of people (to get vaccinated) will be fire and police.”

Administered in two shots, the first shot could be provided as early as Jan. 12. Those who get the vaccine must wait at least 28 days before receiving the second shot.

Who gets the vaccine after the first phase will be determined at a later time.

“They (state officials) are still anticipating we will do that (mass vaccination) around April to the general population,” Louck said. “The state is talking to who the people are for the next phase. There has been conversation about 75 and older being part of that phase, but I’m hoping to get more information on that this week.”

Once more information is known, the health department will notify the public.

“We will let everyone in the county know via our Facebook page, county website, the radio and the newspaper on who gets the next phase of the vaccine,” Louck said.

The health department issued a release to the public on Tuesday, adding, “Thank you for your patience. We promise we will vaccinate everyone who wants to receive the vaccine as the state allocations increase.”

Jasper County is restricted as a red county, meaning it remains a high risk for the virus. The county has reported 31 deaths from COVID, with 10 of those deaths reported at the Rensselaer Care Center and Oak Grove in DeMotte.

The health department is currently settling into its new offices at 910 S. Sparking Ave. behind Saint Joseph’s College. It occupies the old county youth center building, which underwent renovations last month thanks to funds from the CARES Act.

The building will also house the Crossroads Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) as well as a new public meeting room. The room, which is expected to be used by commissioners, council and other county units, will feature new technology for recording meetings.

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