A nice shot in the arm

SANFORD TRACY RN ALEX LETENDRE administers a COVID-19 vaccination shot to an enthusiastic Clint Peterson last Thursday. Photo courtesy Sanford Tracy

Sanford Tracy begins administering COVID-19 vaccinations to public

By Per Peterson

Perry Fales and Clint Peterson have been golfing buddies for years. Last week, they took a shot far more important than any one they will ever take on the links.

Peterson and Fales, along with Fales’ wife, Carol, received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday at Sanford Tracy.

Because of a limited supply of the vaccine, those wishing to be part of Minnesota’s COVID-19 Vaccine Pilot Program had to pre-register with the State of Minnesota. Last week, more than 220,000 Minnesotans 65-and-older registered for the state’s COVID-19 vaccine pilot program registry. Minnesotans who have not been selected for a vaccine from the registry will remain on this list and continue to have the opportunity to be selected to schedule an appointment at the State of Minnesota’s COVID-19 community vaccination sites.

Peterson got the call from Sanford Tracy at 6 p.m. last Wednesday.

“They said, ‘Can you be at the clinic at 9:20 Thursday morning for your first shot and then three weeks later for your second one?” said Peterson, who immediately called his son after hearing the news that his first shot was imminent. “That was just wonderful. I was very happy when I got the call.”

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, Sanford Tracy Medical Center was informed it would be allocated 100 doses from the state to begin vaccinating the 85-and-older population. The next day, Sanford vaccinated 156 members of the community of Tracy.

To be eligible for vaccination at this stage, a person must be at least 65 years old, a pre-K through grade 12 educator, or a child care worker. Vaccines are being prioritized based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and every state’s department of health.

“The call came and I said, ‘Absolutely,’” said Peterson. “I had talked to (former Tracy resident) Kirk Landman last weekend and he and (his wife) Jane had got theirs last week up at Alexandria.”

Peterson isn’t one to shut himself in his home for long periods of time — he’s very much a people-person who can often be seen at high school sporting events and concerts — so to be able to start on the path of peace of mind with the vaccination is a Godsend to him.

“I think as long as it’s available for me, I really want it to happen,” he said. “You still have to take the precautions like wearing a mask, and even after you get the second one, you have to wait a while for it to be really effective. (Tuesday night) I was able to watch the girls (basketball team) on my computer. My son David told me how to do it, so I was able to bring it up on my computer. And Friday night I was able to watch the boys. I really miss watching them in person. But it’s great to at least be able to see them on my computer.”

The Faleses got their shot later last Thursday afternoon. Perry said he was excited, just like Peterson was.

“I had put my name in the lottery up in Marshall,” he said. “I’m just happy to be able to get it. Hopefully enough people get the shot that we get the herd immunity to it.”

Perry said while he and his wife don’t get out too much outside of church, and things like quilting and an occasional round of golf, he said the shots will give them peace of mind moving forward in these uncertain times.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.