Allamakee County Public Health does have a good supply of COVID-19 vaccine and is highly encouraging everyone age 12 and over to receive it. Vaccine clinics are readily available every Friday afternoon for both prime and boost doses for Moderna. Currently, Johnson and Johnson one dose vaccine is also available. These are held at the main entrance to Veterans Memorial Hospital. Please call 563-568-5660 to schedule.
The vaccine will also be available at the Allamakee County Fair each evening of the fair from 6-8 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Hospital booth located in the fairgrounds Pavilion. Please also call 563-568-5660 to schedule an appointment for any of those evenings. Walk-ins are also welcome.
COVID-19 can have serious, life threatening complications and there is no way to know how it will affect anyone. The risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity. The COVID-19 vaccine, which is readily available locally, creates an antibody (immune system) response without having to experience sickness.
Please watch the Veterans Memorial Hospital website at www.veteransmemorialhospital.com and the Veterans Memorial Hospital Facebook page for upcoming clinic details.
A Personal Experience with the COVID-19 Nightmare-A Plea for Vaccination
By Tara Reisinger, RN, Infection Control Manager
Veterans Memorial Hospital
Tara Reisinger, RN, Infection Control Specialist at Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon, urges vaccination for everyone after losing her father to the COVID-19 virus. She explains in her own words, as an infection control specialist, why the need for vaccination sooner rather than later is so important.
“The COVID-19 virus will continue to change and create variants to allow for its survival. We don't have many options to treat patients with COVID and the few options we have are already becoming ineffective against the variants. For example, if you test positive for COVID and have health issues that put you at risk for developing moderate to severe symptoms, we can administer an infusion of monoclonal antibodies to give your immune system a boost. Last year we had the antibody infusion we referred to as ‘bam’ or the bamlanivamab infusion.
With the new COVID-19 variants, bamlanivamab is no longer recommended. We then went to a second ‘cocktail’ or mixture of two antibodies which the virus has now also outsmarted. Currently, we have the Regeneron monoclonal antibody mix, but who's to say how long that will be effective. These infusions are not intended for hospitalized patients and are given in the outpatient setting.
Right now the vaccines are working to protect you from COVID and all the variants, but we don't know if the virus could become strong enough to even make vaccines ineffective. Furthermore, these variants may make the virus more transmissible, maybe more deadly or cause worsening symptoms. That is why I highly recommend vaccination now for everyone 12 years and older, instead of waiting.
Although, I can tell you that the original COVID virus caused some pretty horrific symptoms. The problem is most people didn't see them. Nobody wants to record and post to Facebook a video of a loved one that is struggling to breathe. Sadly, that image is burned into my memory. I watched my dad die of COVID. His lungs were so damaged, he couldn't speak more than 2 words without taking a breath and this went on for a week. Most of our interactions were over the phone at first, but I could hear him struggling to breath and talk at the same time. Later on, when it became clear he was not going to get better, I was able to be by his side for his final hours. He said he had so much he wanted to tell me but he had to work so hard to speak.
People who have rolled up their sleeves and have been vaccinated are my heroes. And it's a very effective vaccine. Of all the people currently hospitalized in the United States with COVID-19, nearly all of them are unvaccinated. This is the only way we can truly stop this virus. If the virus can't replicate in your body, it can't change and get stronger, it can't get passed onto someone else, and it gets stopped.
In the U.S., one hundred and fifty one MILLION people are fully vaccinated. That is 46% of the population. Nearly half of us are doing our part to end this pandemic.
I have always been in favor of vaccines. One of my strange hobbies is to clean gravestones. The saddest ones are of children, sometimes multiple children dying within a month or two of each other. My guess is these deaths were from a childhood disease that we don't worry about anymore thanks to vaccines. We are very fortunate to live in this country that has access to such scientific advances and medical care. It was not even a year ago that we were running out of supplies and reusing items. Sadly, people tend to forget history and it will repeat itself.”