Double-dose drive-in shots draw crowd
October 15, 2021
After making Time magazine last year with one of the first drive-thru vaccination clinics in the country, Carlton County did it again this week.
This time, residents could get a twofer, two shots in the same drive-thru, both of them free. On tap were both Covid-19 and influenza vaccinations, inside the county transportation building on Wednesday and the county's Barnum garage on Thursday.
Getting both shots - a double, if you please - is fine according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Ali Bachinski, Carlton County emergency preparedness coordinator.
"We are still in the midst of a global pandemic. Covid-19 is circulating in our community, so as we move into flu season it's really important to protect yourself against respiratory viruses like influenza, and the best way to do that is to get your flu shot." She pointed out later in the press conference that getting vaccinated is also the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community from Covid-19, also a respiratory illness.
She backed up her advice with a statistic on breakthrough infections, which is when already vaccinated people catch the disease. "Ninety-eight percent of fully vaccinated individuals are still not getting breakthrough disease, which means the vaccines are really effective."
She said even if someone did contract the disease, being vaccinated dramatically reduces the risk of hospitalization and death.
"Only 0.06 of those hospitalized for Covid [statewide] right now have been vaccinated, so it's far under 1 percent," added public health nurse and county spokesperson Meghann Levitt.
Like most drive-thru services, the vaccination clinic is an efficient model.
"We were getting about 100 people through in an hour for our Covid-19 clinics," Bachinski said. "It's a really great way to keep people safe coming through, as well as our staff who are working with all of our good Covid-19 mitigation measures in place."
She said the 100-per-hour figure was for Covid shots, which require a 15-minute wait for reactions after the shot. The majority of people registered for flu shots Wednesday, about 255 total by 3 p.m., versus only 10 for Covid vaccinations.
Although they asked folks to register online or by phone ahead of time, Bachinski said they would take drive-ups if there was space and time; it would just take longer to fill out the paperwork.
Carlton's Clayton Kauppila drove through and got a shot Wednesday, briefly stepping out of his vehicle to get a needle in the arm.
"This is fabulous, what they put together to help folks so we don't have to go hunting for a shot," said the former teacher. "It's convenient and a great service to keep us well," he added, knocking on the door frame for luck.
Local cases still rising
Numbers released by the Minnesota Department of Health on Wednesday put the cumulative number of Covid cases since the start of the Covid pandemic at 4,333, up by 142 from a week ago, rising more quickly than the week before as well. For the second week in a row, deaths were up by two.
The CDC reports the positivity rate for the county each day: it was at 7.28 percent Wednesday, up from 6.44 percent last week, but down from the 8.66 percent reported by the CDC the day before.
"We do know the Delta variant is about 50-percent more transmissible than ... the original Covid strain, and we have seen an increase in community cases," Bachinski said. "It's even more of a reason to get vaccinated today or in the future, to be able to protect yourself and really reduce those increasing numbers to prevent more community transmission and reduce hospitalizations."
The current vaccination rate for people ages 12 and older Carlton County is 70.4 percent, Bachinski said.