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OUR VIEW: Mass vaccination drive efficient as 1300 vaccines administered

We were impressed at the efficiency of Saturday’s mass vaccination site at the Troup County School System Bus Barn. More than 1,300 people received the Pfizer vaccine, and from what we saw all of them were in and out in 30 minutes — and many in 20.

Considering the mere logistics of trying to pull something like that off, it was incredibly well done. People pulled up, verified they had an appointment, turned in any required paperwork and then received their shot.

The Georgia Department of Public Health had it set up where as many as eight shots could be administered at one time.

As fast as it was going, and as organized as it was, if you closed your eyes and squinted a bit, you might’ve thought you were in a Chick-fil-A drive-thru.

There have been vaccination sites in Troup County for months, but Saturdays was by the far the largest. And with all people in Georgia 16 and over now eligible to receive a vaccine, we’re guessing the demand is higher than ever.

You could tell that this was well-organized, as numerous agencies worked together. You could also tell there had been a lot of practice, going back years, as Troup County EMA and the health department worked together to prepare for a public health emergency.

A 2019 story we wrote titled, “Health Department prepares for disaster,” seemed relatively unimportant at the time, but looking back, it was a sign of things to come. District 4 Public Health prepared to administer vaccinations at a site after a fictional anthrax outbreak.

“We have to practice having people come through here, signing paperwork and see how much time it takes for us to actually dispense the medicine,” said Tishari Hardnett, who was acting as the media relations person in that 2019 story. “It shows where we are messing up and how to do better. Because if this was a real incident, we would have this set up and ready to go.”

Later in the story, Hardnett is quoted as saying it was taking about 10 minutes for people to get through the entire process. As they ran through the scenario, tweaks were made just in case a real-life scenario ever played out.

“We realized some of the lanes weren’t going to work, so they adjusted and the set-up is now different,” we quoted Hayla Folden, District 4 Public Health Information Officer, as saying in that 2019 story.

All of that practice from two years ago (and previous years) really paid off on Saturday.

We applaud all of the good work done by all the folks involved. It could not have gone smoother.

Mass vaccinations put us one step closer to ending this pandemic, not only locally, but nationwide.