LMH Health launches COVID vaccine clinics for residents 65 and older
As Douglas County begins Phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccinations under the leadership of Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health (LDCPH), LMH Health has launched vaccine clinics for residents 65 years of age and older, beginning with an allocation of 1,300 doses. The LMH Health clinics will be in addition to the LDCPH clinic already scheduled for Friday, Jan. 29, at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.
Using the information gathered through the county’s online survey for Douglas County residents, which can be found at dgcoks.org/vaccineinterestform, the county contacted 1,300 randomly-selected residents who indicated an interest in receiving the vaccine via the county’s alert system. Those individuals received instructions about how to sign up online or by phone for one of the 1,300 available vaccination appointments. Clinics began Tuesday, Jan. 26. Additional clinics will be launched as vaccine supplies become available.
Russ Johnson, President and CEO of LMH Health, said LMH is initially prepared to deliver a combined 500 to 750 vaccines a day for Phase 1 and Phase 2 through a new drive-thru vaccine clinic on LMH Health’s Main Campus, which is located in the northwest parking lot at 330 Arkansas Street.
“LMH Health has been a key partner in the county’s COVID-19 response, and the hospital will play an integral role in Phase 2 by vaccinating Douglas County residents 65 and older, regardless of where they receive their care,” said Dan Partridge, Director of LDCPH.
Phase 2 also includes those who work or live in congregate settings and high-contact critical workers. More details about Unified Command’s plan for Phase 2 will be available soon.
“As the largest safety net provider in the county, we are grateful for the opportunity to serve Douglas County in vaccinating residents 65 years and older,” said Johnson. “As we planned for this phase, we focused on ensuring an equitable approach that benefits from support from our non-profit community partners and Unified Command Equity Impact Advisors, and allows individuals to access this important service in a way that’s simple and convenient.”
LMH Health and partner organizations are considering multiple avenues for assisting residents without access to a computer, transportation or are home-bound under the guidance of Unified Command’s Equity Impact Advisors:
- For residents without access to a computer, a friend or family member can submit the county’s survey form on their behalf. Individuals can also visit Lawrence Public Library to complete the form online.
- Residents can also request assistance with the form from the Senior Resource Center by calling 785-842-0543 and leaving a message. Staff will return calls during business hours as quickly as they can in the order calls are received.
- Residents seeking assistance navigating vaccine access or transportation can contact United Way at 785-843-6626.
- Visiting Nurses Association has offered to assist with vaccinations when necessary. They are working with Unified Command to coordinate a plan, and more information will be released when available.
To ensure care for our most vulnerable residents, LMH Health will also work with employed and independent providers across the community to identify and schedule individuals with multiple risk factors.
“With 30,000 to 40,000 Douglas County residents who qualify for this phase, this process will take some time and is, of course, contingent on vaccine availability,” said Partridge. “While we definitely understand everyone is anxious to receive a vaccine, patience will be incredibly important as we continue to vaccinate individuals covered under Phase 1 while navigating these next steps for Phase 2.”
Johnson said that LMH Health has approached planning for Phase 2 by keeping equity, safety and convenience in mind.
“With limited supplies at least initially, we must ensure equitable allocation of the vaccine, which is why we will offer registration through a number of avenues,” said Johnson. “We will partner with LDCPH, Unified Command Equity Impact Advisors, and area non-profits like the Senior Resource Center, Lawrence Public Library and United Way to build equity and inclusion into all efforts. And, as is the case in everything we do, safety is our top priority. All planning has been conducted under the direction and guidance of clinicians, and our vaccination center will be staffed by qualified caregivers.”
Johnson said LMH Health’s goal is to create a process that is simple and easy for individuals to navigate.
“We are prepared to vaccinate everyone over the age of 65, regardless of where they receive their care, and if individuals are unable to independently register for a vaccination or transport themselves to vaccine site, there will options for assistance,” said Johnson.
The hospital has created teams that can be deployed as soon as additional vaccines arrive. Johnson said the goal is to ensure the response is nimble and that doses are delivered quickly as they come in, likely within 24-48 hours of receipt.
“While the vaccination process is modeled after the drive-thru testing process we have refined over the past many months, we know we’ll have some bumps in the road,” said Johnson. “As we have experienced throughout the past 11 months, rapidly-changing situations demand a high level of flexibility in order to be successful. We are committed to continuous improvement based on the feedback we receive from our front-line teams and clinic participants.”
“In collaboration with our partners in Unified Command, we will vaccinate all residents 65 years and older during this phase, but it can’t happen overnight,” said Johnson. “We definitely understand and appreciate the community’s concern about vaccine administration, and we look forward to meeting this need for residents over the coming weeks.”