MHCC begins COVID-19 vaccinations

MHCC employee and former City of Douglas Mayor Bruce Jones prepares for a vaccine from Chief Nursing Officer Cristy Cobb. Jones was one of 65 hospital staff that received the vaccination on Christmas Eve.

The much-anticipated wait is over, and the public can now begin to express a collective sigh of relief.

COVID-19 vaccines were received at Memorial Hospital of Converse County on Dec. 23, and vaccinations began the next morning.

Converse County received the Moderna vaccine after the Food and Drug Administration granted approval Dec. 18.

MHCC and Converse County Public Health worked together and began administering the vaccine to healthcare workers, providers and first responders in accordance with the Wyoming Department of Health phase 1a vaccination plan, according to MHCC Practice Administrator Terry Moss.

“Early Christmas Eve morning, a line of providers, nurses and members of the hospital team quickly formed outside the Arbor Cafe on the hospital’s first floor,” Moss said. “The first to receive the vaccine was MHCC employee Toni Skaggs, who works in the dietary and nutrition department.”

Quickly following Skaggs were 65 hospital staff members who waited in line to receive the shot.

“Many in our organization who met Phase 1 criteria received the vaccine today. We look forward to the time when the broader public is able to receive the vaccine,” MHCC CEO Matt Dammeyer said.

Among the staff receiving the vaccine was long-time MHCC and Wyoming medical provider Dr. John Thalken. He and his wife, MHCC Nurse Practitioner Twyla Thalken, have eagerly awaited the vaccine’s arrival in our community.

“We both feel so patriotic. I feel like we are doing something to help our country out of this very difficult time,” the Thalkens shared in a joint statement.

“Thank you MHCC for this opportunity to help our community and country move forward together.”

Those who received the vaccine will need to return in approximately 28 days for a booster and monitor for symptoms, officials said. Many stayed after to both be observed for immediate adverse reaction and download the V-Safe application provided by the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), which will help them report any side effects of the vaccine directly to the agency.

“This [vaccine] will keep our community safe and, as the past mayor of Douglas, the safety of our community is important to me,” said MHCC Information Technology staff member Bruce Jones.

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