1, 500-plus vaccinations at Sanford

Sanford employees Cayla Caron (LEFT) and Paula Filter kept plenty busy last Thursday, checking in Tracy and area residents for their COVID-19 vaccination. Photo / Per Peterson

Tracy clinic continues effort to protect all area residents during pandemic

By Per Peterson

Sanford Tracy employees have always worked hard and rarely have down time — such is life at a hospital.

But this year, as the pandemic continues to grip the nation and the local area, their roles and responsibilities have increased.

Sanford Tracy CEO Stacy Barstad said it’s hard for the public to ascertain how much work goes in to vaccinating the public and keeping everyone safe. A real team effort has helped Sanford take care of everyone’s needs.

“Ordering the vaccines, what reception has done here is amazing — they’ve made how many calls to patients, scheduled them … they have done an amazing job,” said Barstad. “There’s a lot of prep for that. Everybody already had their own jobs, their plates were full, and we’ve all had to prioritize because we know this is an important thing to get done. If census in the hospital is low, we’ve pulled some of those nurses to help us. Everyone is coming to help.”

As of March 26, a total of 1,546 vaccine doses have been administered at Sanford Tracy. On March 25 alone, there were 206 doses given out, plus 18 more on March 26. This includes both first and second doses. Sanford Tracy typically receives doses every Wednesday.

“I think it’s great that we have the vaccines that we can provide not only to our patients, but to others in area communities,” said Barstad. “We’ve had people from the Cities come here looking for it. Kudos to our staff — they’re what’s making this run so smooth. I hear from patients that they’re so grateful, and it’s our staff that’s making it work. We have a great team, and we all have the same goal: Let’s get everybody vaccinated as quickly as we can.”

Vaccines for Sanford employees in Tracy started last December, about a week before Christmas. On January 14, public vaccinations began.

Sanford Tracy RN Alex Letendre said the days that followed were a learning process for her and her colleagues.

“That first time was rough, and you learn from that and you change,” she said. “I feel that we’ve changed a little bit each time. It’s new — how do you know how to run something that you’ve never run before?”

Letendre added that the process of administering vaccinations isn’t as easy as it looks.

“You have to do your homework,” she said. “You have to know that you’re giving the people the right dose, if they’re coming for the second dose. I can’t give you a Moderna if you’ve got a Pfizer, per the recommendations of the state. It’s not just doing a shot, there’s so much more than that.”

The process at Sanford is a relatively smooth one, and the clinic has had to adapt to their new normal. March 18 was a particularly busy day at Sanford, as the clinic received its first Moderna vaccines; before that, it was all Pfizer. Sanford Tracy has received just one shipment of Moderna to date; the second shipment of Moderna will be administered in mid-April to those who need their second doses. Johnson & Johnson vaccines in Minnesota went to Worthington for JBS employees.

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