Boone County officials announced they were preparing preliminary plans to distribute immunizations to residents when they are made available, in accordance with recently released guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At the Sept. 8 Boone County Commissioners meeting, the commissioners unanimously voted to extend the county’s state of emergency, citing a need to prepare distributions of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
Boone County Health Dept. Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Tom Ryan said the department reported 18 additional COVID-19 cases over the weekend, which is less than the estimated 22-25 cases the county has seen in recent weekends, he said. In total, 957 COVID-19 positive cases had been reported in the county, as of Sept. 8.
“We understand our numbers are going down a little bit,” Boone County Commissioner Jeff Wolfe said. “But part of continuing this state of emergency is for us to be prepared for our next phase, which is giving out immunizations when they become available. For that, and also keeping up with the emergency quick response that we would need if something was to break out.”
The CDC outlined a plan last week for health officials in all states to prepare preliminary distribution plans for two unidentified vaccine candidates. The guidance said officials should be prepared to distribute a vaccine to vulnerable residents and essential workers as soon as late-October or early-November.
“It gives us about a month to plan for a community of 68,000, granted that, obviously, we will be dealing with it in waves,” Ryan said. “Your health care workers, long-term care facilities/residents, vulnerable populations will be in that first wave, so we are not dealing with the entire population of Boone County to begin with. But the second and third and fourth waves of vaccination following that will be doing that.”
Of the myriad vaccination candidates, Ryan said the two earmarked by the CDC would require two treatments, either 21 or 28 days apart, depending on the vaccination.
To best plan for a two-stage vaccination process, county health officials and commissioners will work to identify and procure for at least a month after the initial vaccination “any county-owned facility that would be deemed the easiest to get people through (in) the quickest amount of time,” Ryan said.