HELENA — In an effort to expand local mass vaccination opportunities, Carroll College announced a partnership with Lewis & Clark Public Health, St. Peter’s Health, and PureView Health Center to serve as a drive-through point of distribution for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are eager to do what we can to assist Lewis & Clark County in protecting our residents from the formidable impacts of this virus,” says Dr. John Cech, president of Carroll College. “This is one of the most important partnerships Carroll College has ever entered. Having the ability to be a part of the solution for vaccine distribution and caring for the health of our community is directly in concert with our mission as a Catholic college.”
Currently, Carroll College says the Lewis & Clark Fairgrounds has served as the only high-volume drive-through point of distribution (POD) for the rapid administration of COVID-19 vaccine. In preparation for the expansion of vaccination efforts, beginning Thursday and Friday, February 11-12, Carroll’s Nelson Stadium will serve as a second, local, high-volume drive-through POD for the administration of vaccines.
In a press release, Carroll says Nelson Stadium will serve as a “Second Dose” drive-through clinic to complement the existing drive-through clinic located at the fairgrounds, which will now serve as a “First Dose” clinic. Carroll College will continue to serve as a second dose clinic throughout the spring and into the summer, as necessary.
“Our local COVID-19 Vaccine Planning Team is excited to announce an expansion of our partnership with Carroll College in the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Eric Merchant, the Division Administrator for Disease Control and Prevention at Lewis & Clark Public Health. “This strategy effectively doubles the county’s capacity to serve the community as vaccine supply allows. This collaborative effort represents a critical expansion of our capacity to serve and protect our community from the ongoing impacts of the pandemic.”
The vaccination POD at Carroll College continues to be a Lewis & Clark County and Vaccine Planning Team-led effort, with volunteer and infrastructure support provided by Carroll.
Carroll College’s Nursing, Public Health and Biology programs, as well as others at the college, will be providing student and staff volunteers and support for vaccine administration, with preceptor oversight, as well as serving POD logistics, such as eligible participant screening, traffic control, and post vaccine monitoring.
“This is a tremendous educational opportunity for our students to be involved in such an important large-scale public health initiative,” says Dr. Cech. “Carroll College has the second largest nursing program in Montana with 100% of their nursing graduates having passed the NCLEX RN in 2020.”
“St. Peter’s Health celebrates the collaborative work that has gone into COVID-19 vaccine distribution in our community,” says Tom Richardson, PharmD, BCIDP, Clinical Pharmacy Manager at St. Peter’s Health. “The ability to involve the next generation of healthcare professionals and service-minded students in this historic mass vaccination and public health effort is exciting. It will benefit health care in our community for years to come.”
This partnership is a continuation of various collaborations Carroll College has had within the county throughout the course of the pandemic. Through a partnership with Shodair Children’s Hospital, Carroll has been able to voluntarily test all of their students weekly with a less than 24-hour turnaround time for results.
In addition, Carroll College’s biology faculty have been working with the City of Helena, the City of East Helena, and Lewis and Clark Public Health to test municipal wastewater samples for the presence and concentration of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. These measurements provide information on changes in total COVID-19 infection within the community and can serve as an early predictor of an increase in cases in the respective communities.
IMPORTANT DETAILS TO NOTE: (provided by Carroll College is a press release)
- Carroll College's Nelson Stadium is only for those receiving their second dose vaccines, beginning February 11-12.
- Phase 1A and Phase 1B, Tier 1, who received their first dose vaccines on January 19 & 20 at the Fairgrounds, will receive their second dose vaccines at Carroll College.
- Phase 1A, Tier 1, who received their first dose vaccines on January 5 & 6, will still receive their second dose vaccines at the Fairgrounds on February 4 & 5.
- First dose vaccines will continue to be administered at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds, 98 W. Custer Ave., Helena
- Ongoing information and details can be found on Lewis and Clark Public Health’s website at www.lccountymt.gov/health [lccountymt.gov], under the "COVID-19 Hub" link on the main page.
Carroll College says logistical details are being finalized and further information will be communicated to the community in the coming days and weeks.