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Our drive-thru vaccination site is worthy of emulation by others

On Feb. 5, my husband and I received the precious gift of our first COVID-19 vaccine. The days of effort to make initial appointments on the state registry paid off.  Note the vaccine registration site requests some personal information, but if you are a trusted friend or relative of someone who is less computer savvy or who has limited free time, your assistance to them would be a blessing.

My appointment confirmation email arrived quickly, along with a reminder message later. On the assigned day, I drove to the back of the mall to queue up for the drive-thru vaccination process and present my appointment letter. There, I found an array of friendly, courteous, kind, and very professional members of the National Guard, sheriff, police and fire departments, plus local and state medical officials.

I’ve known our talented emergency manager, John Elfer, for many years. I’ve never witnessed his dancing skills, but I witnessed different faces, uniforms and expertise executing a beautifully choreographed process. As someone who had the past privilege of working as a Baldrige National Quality Award examiner and who studied Lean Six Sigma business process efficiency, I was very impressed.

The entire process took less than 30 minutes, including the 15-minute post-vaccine wait. The needle is so small and the nurses are so skilled, that you can barely feel the shot. As soon as you are vaccinated, you receive a follow-up email with an online link that allows you to immediately and easily schedule your second vaccine appointment. Kudos to the state for streamlining that part of the process. 

As a retired scientist, I believe in the wonder and power of vaccinations. I recall receiving the polio vaccine on a sugar cube as a young child in Texas. That memory returned several years ago when we purchased local farmland from a wonderful woman who contracted polio as a child in Vicksburg. I am proud of having taken a flu shot every year since 1976, along with other age or occupation appropriate vaccines along the way. 

There is still a long road ahead for all of us.

We must continue to do our civic duty and help protect each other. To mask up, spread out, minimize contacts and get vaccinated. Otherwise, we will remain trapped in a terrible cycle and the longer our social and economic lives will be adversely impacted. The more people who refuse to properly mask and socially distance, the more Covid infections that occur, and the more opportunities for disease mutations to occur. These disease variants are spreading globally and across the United States with some believed to be far more contagious and deadly.

We adopted Vicksburg as our home several decades ago, but I cannot recall another time when the obituary list in The Post has been so long, or when so many lives have been shattered by a terrible disease.

Vicksburg is fortunate in that, once again, our wonderful and talented community has banded together to bring rays of hope to our collective battle against COVID-19.

Our drive-thru vaccination process is worthy of emulation by others.

 

Julie Marcy is a retired research biologist and professional facilitator who worked at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center.