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Several health care workers in Riley County rolled up their sleeves to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

On Monday, the health department received its first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and on Tuesday they started to administer the vaccine to local health care workers. Julie Gibbs, Health Department Director says they are thankful for this day and tells KMAN who was part of the group that received the vaccine.

“We have approximately 200 doses that we’re able to give to our first line health care providers,” Gibbs says. “So we’re looking at EMS, first line health department staff, we are also looking at some primary care providers, as well as urgent care providers.”

Among one of those front line workers is Riley County EMS and ambulance assistant director, Joshua Gering. Gering was the first to receive the vaccine from the health department. He says receiving the vaccine was a way to set an example for the rest of the EMS and the community.

“I was willing and able, and excited to be a part of this,” Gering says. “I hope to demonstrate a brave face for the community and instill a little bit of public trust in this process because I think it’s something that we all need. It’s been a tough year and I’m looking forward to rounding this corner with the rest of you.”

Gering was one of the 150 health care workers to receive the Moderna vaccine from the health department on Tuesday. Aryn Price, Health Department Clinical Supervisor, talks more about the decision to use only 150 of the 200 vaccines received.

“We did not want to administer all on one date because of the potential for adverse events and we don’t want to take out all health care staff on the first day,” Price says.

Price clarifies that those potential adverse events come with any vaccine.

“The most likely side effects are going to include redness and soreness at the injection site,” Price says. “There is also potential for fever or headache with the Moderna vaccine. We are very fortunate to have EMS staff here available as well as nurses to monitor and care for everyone that is receiving the vaccine today.”

The Riley County Health Department expects to receive the next shipment of the Moderna vaccine within one to two weeks. That shipment will contain many of the second doses for those who received the first dose on Tuesday. The Moderna vaccine calls for patients to receive the second dose four weeks after the initial dose, that date landing on January 19.


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