A small, rural Northern Wisconsin health care system and members of its community were waiting with bated breath along with the rest of the world for the COVID-19 vaccine to become available at the beginning of 2021. Finally, Memorial Medical Center's (MMC's) frontline staff and employees in the most danger of exposure who wanted the shot were vaccinated along with those 65 and older who became eligible.
As the local health and human services department began to get weekly allotments of the vaccine, it became evident that MMC, as a leading voice in health care in the region, would be called upon to assist local health departments in distributing the shots. Counties in the area had thousands of people on wait lists, and not enough resources to deliver the vaccine.
MMC was honored to step forward and collaborate with the county and several other local agencies to provide weekly COVID-19 vaccine clinics to the community from the end of January through March of 2021. MMC nurses and providers volunteered their time to set up, coordinate and administer the vaccine. Retirees from MMC signed up and stayed at the clinics all day to register patients, answer questions and provide education.
Employees from multiple departments went above and beyond their formal job descriptions to assist with the efforts. MMC marketing and communications team members personally called individuals to set up vaccine appointments. MMC recruited the help of their Lean Coordinator to develop the best flow and process possible for vaccine clinic operations.
Liz Szot, Ashland County Health Officer said, “Because of the coordinated vaccination efforts, we were able to get more people vaccinated at a faster rate than we had expected. We have received extensive positive feedback and appreciation in regards to the way the clinics were run. This is a result of everyone’s hard work and dedication to keeping the people in our communities healthy!”
MMC is proud to say that it assisted in vaccinating up to 600 people each week depending on the number of doses received from the state. They continued to campaign around the importance of getting vaccinated as it opened up to anyone ages 16+ in May. Now, as it is even more widely available in the United States, MMC remains a leading voice in its area with a message for everyone 12 years of age or older who is eligible to: “Get the COVID-19 Vaccine – it’s Worth the Shot.”