Tip of the editorial cap to the folks running the vaccination clinics for the Riley County Health Department. By all accounts, they’re doing an excellent job.
The department director, Julie Gibbs, has had to manage the community’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Surely when she took the job a couple of years ago she could never have imagined the sort of Herculean task that lay before her.
There have been stumbles, and I’ve been critical in this space of some of her decisions. I was critical, too, when the first vaccination clinic was a logistical mess. But since that first episode, the effort has been run smoothly and efficiently. We’re well over 10,000 vaccinations, counting people who’ve been fully vaccinated and those who’ve had only their first shot.
In fact, in some ways Riley County got ahead of the curve. The health department was ready to move into the next phase, where a larger portion of the population will be eligible for vaccines, but the state government bigfooted them. The ruling came down that the whole state needed to move in unison. How you choose to view that probably depends on your perspective, but the point is that the county here moved along quite well.
And so, when a job is done well, we need to say that, too. I’m saying it now.
I say it at a moment when the state is, in fact, ready to move into another phase, where most of the general population will be able to get a shot. There might again be crowds, but my sense is that the effort will be better coordinated than it was the first go-round.
I also know that the vaccination effort at Ascension Via Christi Hospital has run like clockwork, for the patients and staff who got their shots there. Bob Copple, the local hospital president, is an engineer by training, so that probably figures.
As I’ve said before, we’re not entirely out of the woods. There are reasons to continue to be cautious, maintaining social distancing and continuing to wear masks in public. But the real key is vaccination, and that effort is moving along very well.
For those hesitant, I would say this: Getting a vaccine is a personal decision, of course, but I would encourage you to get one. Not only does it protect you, it helps protect the public health. And, because of the professionalism of the local effort, it’s become convenient and quick, too.