Palouse Medical administers over 4,000 vaccines since December

Center will continue hosting vaccination clinics for patients; recently administered 10 Johnson and Johnson vaccines

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“We’re all under the same mission: we want to get out of COVID, and we want to get back to whatever our new normal life is going to be,” said Theresa Kwate, Palouse Medical executive director. 

JAYCE CARRAL, Evergreen reporter

After administering over 4,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses since December, Palouse Medical continues to hold vaccination clinics for members of the community. 

Palouse Medical received its first vaccines Dec. 17, and staff members began administering doses to first responders in Whitman County Dec. 18, said Theresa Kwate, Palouse Medical executive director. 

After vaccinating first responders, Palouse Medical staff members began reaching out to patients who were over 65 years old. Kwate said staff members had the same “let’s-get-it-done” mentality. 

“We’re all under the same mission: we want to get out of COVID, and we want to get back to whatever our new normal life is going to be,” she said.  

With the help of Palouse Medical staff members and volunteers, Kwate said they have never had an issue staffing vaccination clinics. 

About 30 people run each clinic, she said. There are five nursing rooms where people get vaccinated and two nurses run each room. 

One nurse administers the vaccine and another nurse inputs information onto a computer. About four staff members screen incoming patients for COVID-19 symptoms, Kwate said. 

Kwate said she is very proud that Palouse Medical has not wasted any vaccine doses. After they administer doses to all the patients scheduled for a clinic, one staff member begins calling patients on a waiting list until all leftover vaccines are administered. 

This ensures that all vaccines taken out of the freezer are used instead of wasted. Vaccines have a life of about six hours after they are removed from the freezer, she said. 

Palouse Medical only administers one type of dose, either a primer or a booster, at every clinic. Clinics are also held on different days, Kwate said. 

After someone gets a primer dose, they are immediately scheduled to receive a booster shot 21 days later, she said. 

Palouse Medical is hosting a vaccination clinic today from 5-8 p.m. About 75 of 200 slots are still available. The clinic is open to Palouse Medical patients currently eligible for vaccination, Kwate said. Only primer shots of Pfizer will be administered. 

Another clinic will be held April 15, when everyone over 16 years becomes eligible for vaccination. Kwater said the clinic is open to Palouse Medical patients and only primer shots will be administered. 

A booster-shot clinic will be held on April 16 for patients who received the primer dose March 26. 

Palouse Medical will begin hosting two clinics a week starting next week, Kwate said. Those clinics are also by appointment only. 

Kwate said they recently received some Johnson & Johnson vaccines. They administered 10 doses on Thursday. 

Some Palouse Medical staff members also help at mass vaccination clinics held by Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Kwate said. 

A little over 23,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Whitman County, according to the Washington State Department of Health’s COVID-19 Dashboard

A list of upcoming vaccination clinics hosted throughout the county can be found on Whitman County Public Health’s website.