Health department preparing for vaccine booster

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

The Dubois County Health Department will be ready to handle the COVID-19 vaccine booster shots when the time comes.

The department’s COVID clerk position will be around for another year, as the Dubois County Commissioners approved the position for 2022.

The department will need the help when the time comes for offering the boosters to the public, department Administrative Director Shawn Werner told the commissioners Tuesday. But it would be help if the clerk is able to work six days a week instead of five, he explained.

The commissioners agreed to his request. The Dubois County Council agreed last week to the fund the position for 2022, so long as the commissioners approved the extension.

“If we don’t need to use this funding, we won’t use it,” Werner said. “But more than likely we will.”

Although the money will come from the rainy day fund, the commissioners agreed that the federal funds the county has received from the federal American Rescue Plan Act could be used for this in the future.

Werner said that people are still coming to the department to get the vaccine.

“it’s picking up,” he said.. “With the number of hospitalizations we’re having, it’s definitely staying steady. And now we’re doing the flu (shot) on top of it.” So the health department staff is staying busy, he said.

The commissioners asked Werner if he has noticed whether or not the vaccines are helping. He said yes, absolutely.

“If you look at the hospitals in southern Indiana, and pretty much across the nation,” he said, “of the people who are going into hospital, a high number of them are unvaccinated. By far and large, the people that are being hospitalized are unvacinated.”

He said that there are vaccinated people who have gotten the virus. “But they tend to do better with it, as far as sever illness,” he said. “That’s what’s been said all along: (the vaccine) is going to protect you from severe illness.”

Werner said that he originally heard that the boosters would become available sometime this month. But he’s now hearing that there is still discussion at the federal level about it.

Werner added that the local COVID testing site at the former Ruxer is now reopened and that about 150 to 200 tests are being daily. “They are slammed. So there is a need,” he said.

Information about getting a regular test and rapid test can be found on the health department’s Facebook page.

The commissioners also:

• Heard from County Clerk Amy Kippenbrock that they are responsible for working on reprecincting, since the Census has made available numbers that are being use by the state for redistricting. The commissioners will work with the clerk on accomplishing this.

• Talked about the Hoosiers Enduring Legacy Program. Overall, they still feel that pursuing the program, which is through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, would benefit the county.

• Extended the leases for the Haysville and Dubois sanitation sites; the lease for each is $400 per year.




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