‘It’s hope for the future’: PMC extends COVID-19 vaccine with drive-thru site

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 8:04 PM EST
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Pikeville Medical Center opened its COVID-19 vaccine drive-thru site this week, opening three lanes to help vaccinate the most vulnerable in the region.

“These are our family members, our friends, our brothers our sisters, our mothers, and fathers,” said CEO Donovan Blackburn. “Now having a product, a vaccine, to be able to protect them.”

People who are 70 years old or older in the Pike, Floyd, Johnson, Martin, Magoffin, Knott, and Letcher County areas can pre-register now for a vaccine through the drive-thru.

“This vaccine is certainly hope. That’s what it stands for,” said Blackburn. “To preserve life and take care of life. The opportunity to go home and hug their kids, hug their mom, hug their dad, and feel safe in doing so.”

The hospital is currently working its way through a waiting list of 5,000 people but only has the capacity to complete 500 doses each day. That number of doses includes tier 1A people who are now getting the second booster to complete their vaccinations. Blackburn said the hospital is working to make sure the vaccine is distributed as quickly and safely as possible but, with those numbers in mind, he hopes people will remain patient.

“We ask people again to be patient, to be considerate, and to understand the significance of what we are trying to do,” Blackburn said.

Phyllis Collins, a retired teacher, was one of the first 1B elderly people to receive the vaccine.

“Just washed over me and I sat there and I was amazed, really, that I had received it,” said Collins. “And even more for my husband.”

She and her husband, who recently had surgery from which he is still recovering, were excited to roll up their sleeves.

“With this vaccine, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Collins. “I feel like I’m looking forward to getting out and getting back to church and getting to talk to my friends. It is hope. It’s hope for the future.”

She said getting the vaccine should be on everyone’s to-do list as it becomes available.

“People just need to look around. Look at the news, at how many people are dying and are hospitalized,” she said. “Just see all the chaos that’s in our country. Everybody needs to go out and get this vaccine.

The site does not accept people without an appointment. To pre-register for a vaccine as part of the 1B tier or the expanded 1A tier, click here.

Once pre-registered, wait for PMC to contact you to schedule a vaccination. According to Blackburn, it could take time to get to each person, so patience is stressed, but they are being scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.

PMC asks anyone receiving a vaccination to bring someone with them to the appointment to help monitor any possible response. There is a waiting area after receiving the shot, where patients are asked to park for either 15 or 30 minutes depending on their situation.

Anyone who receives a vaccine will also get a record card, telling the date for the second booster shot. The second shot is due after 21 days for the Pfizer or 28 days for the Moderna and is crucial to complete the vaccination.

If you get a date for your vaccination and can not attend the appointment, it is important to cancel, since doses are calculated daily. If not canceled, PMC has to search for a person to receive these expected doses to avoid wasting the vaccine.

PMC’s COVID-19 testing is still available but is now located next to the drive-thru site behind the Family Practice Center.

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