By midmorning last Saturday, Sussex County Public Safety Coordinator Reid Foster described the first-ever COVID vaccine Clinic in Sussex county as going “very smoothly.”
“We have eight vaccinators and about 20 volunteers registering and taking temps and doing necessary paperwork,” he said. “We did 110 of the school employees this morning, and this afternoon I believe we have 323 registered and will do those from 1 – 6 p.m., so I have more volunteers coming in help with wheelchairs and walkers.”
“The response has been overwhelming ever since we got word that we were getting the vaccines,” he continued. “I have not been home in the last week before 9:30 or 10 o’clock. I have tried to answer every phone call and call back people that have left messages and I’ve had volunteers come in and help. We were initially looking at vaccinating 500 people. When we got into the process and started scheduling appointments, we realized that we could not do 500 people in five hours. We did not have the vaccinators, and we did not have a place big enough to hold an area. So, we cut the list off at 325. Whenever we get the next round of vaccines, I already have 368 people on the list, and they are steady calling. The citizens really want it. Word got out, and it has spread like wildfire.”
Throughout the day, volunteers from all over the county came in to help, including Waverly Mayor Angela McPhaul, who manned various areas in the event for hours.
“To say that I am excited would be an understatement,” she said. “Sussex County has needed the vaccine for months, and we’re finally getting it the first of February. We’re just hoping this will open up the gates for us getting more vaccine clinics. As the Mayor, the frustration level for me was climbing as I was seeing people – citizens in Sussex County - having to drive over the border into North Carolina to line up for vaccines where they were easily able to get them, so just to think that we could not even provide for our own citizens, and they were driving to another state. Kudos to Reid Foster our public safety coordinator for Sussex County. He had very little notice to put this together, people were calling his phone and leaving messages. He had to schedule appointments, call people back - the coordination to be able to do this number of vaccines in less than a week’s notice is miraculous.”
Foster said that the biggest hiccup in the process involved the took a lot of space to seat everyone socially distanced, and the greatest challenge going forward is the need for volunteers. He also reiterated that it would not have been possible without a long list of people and groups who worked tirelessly to make this happen.
He added, “If anyone knows of a nurse, some pharmacists, you can call the Crater Health District or call me at 804 834-1305 and I will pass it on. Just be patient it will probably be full. I just want to thank everybody for being patient. It’s been a hard seven days getting this up and running and patience was running thin because people really want the vaccine. We will return your phone call. It may be a day afterwards, but we will get back to you.”