Meet Our Team: People Who Help Make Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Drive-Through Vaccination Clinics Happen
BY HANNAH ROPP
Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) has vaccinated thousands of community members through COVID-19 drive-through vaccination clinics. These clinics are safe and efficient ways to vaccinate a large number of people at once and will continue well into the future. While it may look like a seamless process, there are a lot of people involved in making sure the event, like the one we held today at Dorney Park, is a success.
Terry Burger, RN, Administrator, Infection Control
Terry Burger, RN, has been organizing the drive-through flu shot clinics for over 20 years, but says the COVID-19 vaccination clinics are much different and are more detailed. To start, appointments are needed at COVID-19 drive-through clinics to ensure enough vaccines are available. Computers and specialized software are also necessary to chart in real-time how much vaccine is being used. In addition, an observation lot and critical care physicians are needed in the rare event there is a reaction.
Burger says that it’s still a learning process. “Every time we hold one of these we discover something new to make the process even more efficient,” she says.
Brenda Croll-Stachelek, MSN, Infection Preventionist
Drive-through vaccination clinics wouldn’t be possible without the help of LVHN colleagues and Brenda Croll-Stachelek is tasked with staffing the events and making sure everyone is in the right role. She works closely with operations to find out how many people are needed in each position from traffic coordinators, to nurses, pharmacists, physicians and more. The number of colleagues at each event varies, but is usually between 150-200 people.
Elie Jabbour, PharmD, Director, Clinical Pharmacy Services
While you may not see them, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians play a vital role in drive-through vaccination clinics. They are located at an enclosed facility and draw up the doses, label them and deliver them to the nurses. They generally put together 600 doses in an hour and try to stay two hours ahead.
Elie Jabbour, PharmD, Director, Clinical Pharmacy Services, says the experience is rewarding. “As pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, this is our opportunity to use our unique skillset to give back to the community,” he says.
Carol Fox, RN, Director, Trauma Program
When it comes to drive-through vaccination clinics, nurses are the stars of the show. They are the ones responsible for the vaccinations themselves. LVHN Registered Nurse Carol Fox says it’s an amazing experience. “I had one woman who just cried hysterically this morning because she was so happy. I cried along with her. We’ve all been waiting a year for this and I’m so proud to be a part of it,” she says.
In addition to administering the vaccines, the nurses also double check the paper work and mark the time the car is allowed to leave the observation lot on the windshield.
Steven Scott, MD, Hospital Medicine
LVHN physicians are available at COVID-19 drive-through vaccination clinics in the rare event of a reaction. There are generally four or five physicians available who walk up and down the aisles to make sure everyone is doing OK. People are told to put on their four-way signals to alert physicians to a problem. In most cases the reactions are minor and only require additional observation.
“It’s so important that people get their vaccine and this is a great way to help. People are so appreciative. I had a couple this morning who drove two hours to be here,” says Steven Scott, MD, LVHN general internal medicine physician.
More vaccination clinics are on the way
LVHN is committed to keeping our community informed about vaccine availability in real time as more vaccination clinics are scheduled. There are three ways to stay up to date:
LVHN.org – LVHN will post a green alert at the top of our website, LVHN.org, to indicate that appointments are available. When appointments are unavailable, LVHN will post a red alert at the top of the website.
MyLVHN – People on the LVHN patient portal, MyLVHN, will see an announcement on the home screen indicating if appointments are available.
COVID-19 Hotline – If you do not have access to technology, you can call 833-584-6283 (833-LVHN-CVD) to receive an update and schedule an appointment if supply is available. Demand and call volume is high. You may be on hold and all vaccine appointments may fill up while you wait. The fastest way to get an appointment is through MyLVHN.
LVHN typically receives vaccine shipments on Tuesdays when supply is available. Please remember that more than 300,000 people in Phase 1A are waiting to get vaccinated by LVHN. Vaccine supply is determined by the state of Pennsylvania. Appointments are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis and are taken very fast.
For more details about vaccines and upcoming vaccination clinics, visit LVHN.org/vaccines.