A Shot in the Arm

Fayette Receives First Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine


Fayette County received its first 100 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine last Wednesday, December 16, and all doses were gone, with no one reporting any side affects as of Monday, December 21.

And that could be expected, according to Kendra Craig, an employee of the Fayette County Health Department who is also the county’s Emergency Management Agency.

“It’s as common as a flu shot,” Craig said. “They produce a new flu vaccine every year, and this is the same kind of thing.”

Craig picked up the 100 doses of the Prizer vaccine early Wednesday, December 16, in the afternoon at Belleville Memorial Hospital, the point-of-dispensing pod for this COVID-19 region, and the first doses were administered a few hours later by nurses at SBL Fayette County Hospital in Vandalia.

The last of the 100 doses were administered on Saturday, Craig said.

The first doses went to hospital staff and local physicians who asked to receive them. Jeff Casey of the hospital staff received the first dose, followed by Dr. Glenn Skow.

Staff members at the health department were next in line, followed by Vandalia School District nurses. Remaining doses were given to health care employees at FAYCO Enterprises.

The county is scheduled to receive booster doses for those initial doses within two weeks from this Wednesday (December 23), she said.

Also, Craig said, she has been notified that the county will receive 200 doses of a second type of vaccine, from Moderna, as early as this week.

The only difference between the two vaccines that Craig is aware of is that the Pfizer vaccine is shipped frozen and has a shelf life of five days, while the Moderna vaccine is not frozen and has a 30-day shelf life.

Dr. Jennifer Garrison, the superintendent of the Vandalia School District, reported on the district’s website early on Monday that none of the district nurses had experienced any side effects.

Craig said later on Monday, December 21, that no side effects had been reported to her.

There are some people who are declining the vaccine, and Craig said, “A lot of that is because we (still) don’t know a lot about it.”

School district nurse Joy Lewis and the district’s two other nurses, Brittany White and Melissa Elliott, were administered the vaccine on Friday afternoon, December 18, and they all said they were ready to receive it.

Lewis said, “We are honored and excited to receive the COVID vaccine.

“We thank the FCHD and FCH for acknowledging our frontline work at the school. School nurses bridge the gap between healthcare and the education worlds,” she said.

“Besides caring for sick students and staff, we play a big role in educating our staff, students, and parents throughout this COVID19 pandemic.

Receiving this safe vaccination today (Friday, December 18) is another way we can hopefully educate and encourage our staff and community to receive this vaccination and promote a healthy and safe school environment for all,” Lewis said.

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