The LincolnHealth COVID-19 vaccine clinic packed out of the Marylouise Tandy Field House at Boothbay Region YMCA June 4. Just shy of six months as Lincoln County’s central clinic, staff administered nearly 23,500 first and second dose vaccines. The clinic booked 302 appointments for its last week of operation.
LincolnHealth President Cindy Wade said the last day for most staff and volunteers was bittersweet. However, everyone is optimistic about the numbers and increasing prevalence in resources, she said.
“I keep telling the team this was history in the making and they have done just an absolutely tremendous job. As they’re picking up, they're a little sad because it's been quite the accomplishment. We're very, very proud of it.”
Volunteer Loree Niola saw the clinic as an opportunity to get back out into the community in a big and safe way. ““When I came here on day one, I did not know what to expect ... but it was totally organized, ran smoothly. It was like clockwork: people come in, they get screened, they get registered, go to their table -- I mean, it was just wonderful. I can't say one negative thing. And the people were wonderful, all the people coming in were so happy to get their shot ... It's been one of the best experiences I've ever had.”
With resources ranging from big box pharmacies and stores to local pop-up clinics and businesses, Wade said there will still likely be opportunities for LincolnHealth to get into the communities to serve larger portions of the population in more intimate pop-up clinic settings. “If we find there's a population of people who need a clinic, we'll be popping up clinics. We're looking at how we can transition vaccinations so if you come in to see your primary care physician, you can get it in the office.”
The atmosphere of the last hour in the clinic was intense as nurses and volunteers worked quickly to continue their duties to patients while also packing up and getting ready to leave. Niola stood at the door with a few fellow volunteers anticipating the last scheduled appointments and looking out for potential walk-in patients.
Said Niola, “It's a sad day, but the numbers have dropped and there are so many places people can go get vaccinated, now ... But I'll miss it. A year and a half everybody's stuck home and when this came up I remember saying, 'sign me up, I'll be there.' Now it's done.”