VIVIAN, La. (KSLA) — Rural health care takes center stage once again in the fight against COVID-19 as 400 doses of the Moderna vaccine have been administered at North Caddo Medical Center in Vivian.
Two hundred doses were administered to those who had appointments before noon Wednesday, and another 200 were given out on a first-come, first-served basis after noon.
That availability is critical with so many people lacking access to the internet to make appointments, and for people who would otherwise not get a shot because of their remote location.
Wednesday also was a milestone day at NCMC because it marked 2,000 doses given out since vaccines became available.
The health facility’s outreach to other rural areas is a big factor in people getting access to the vaccine.
It’s described as a good strategy to help those like Vera Vaughn who have limited access to health care.
Reporter: “Describe this to me, if this wasn’t here, then what, for you?”
Vaughn (while in line for a vaccination): “I don’t know because it’s 30 miles into Shreveport. And we’d have to go in there and then I’d have to figure out, you know, where to go and sit for an hour or so and then drive. So this is wonderful we’ve got this.”
Dakota Robinson, chief financial officer at the Vivian medical facility, said there are many people facing the very same challenges to health care access. “That’s internet capabilities, sometimes even down to a basic telephone line. And you’ve got to have those things to make appointments.”
Robinson also described how just spending a few minutes speaking with those who are waiting in line will tell you everything you need to know about the people who rely on this rural health care system.
“You would be blown away by the gratitude and just the sheer, maybe relief of them because we’re looking at a pandemic,” Robinson said. “We’ve been in it now a year, and it’s almost like there’s a little light at the end of the tunnel.”
In the drive-thru vaccination line in Vivian also were people who have seen the real-life consequences of a COVID-19 infection.
“Went to a funeral last week of a COVID-19 patient,” Donnie West told KSLA News 12 just before he was vaccinated. “I know I had it. But I had a mild case, so it didn’t bother me.
“But you just don’t know. So I’m not taking any chances.”
Robinson and others also are quick to point out that vaccination efforts like the one at NCMC will be with us for months and months to come.
According to the NCMC, the facility did not run out of first doses offered Wednesday, Feb. 10.
Vaccinations will be offered there again Thursday, but only for people with appointments to receive their second doses.
First doses of the vaccine will be offered again at NCMC next week. The date and time have not yet been determined.