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A busy COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Quincy

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | January 21, 2021 1:00 AM

QUINCY — The line of cars wound out of the Quincy High School parking lot and nearly all the way down Jackrabbit Lane on Wednesday morning.

“We had an appointment at 9:35,” said Gloria Garces, who sat in a big SUV with her husband, Baldemar, waiting for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

It was about 10:45 a.m. — a long time past their appointment — but neither of the Garceses said they regretted the wait.

“It’s worth it, I guess,” Baldemar said as he sat behind the wheel.

That’s because most of his family — Baldemar, who said he has been living in Quincy since 1965, has eight siblings living here — got COVID-19 during the last year as the disease swept through this community.

“Everybody recovered,” he said.

But it was enough to get Baldemar Garces, who is 71, along with several hundred Quincy residents out to Samaritan Health Care’s drive-through COVID-19 vaccine clinic.

“We have both first doses and boosters,” said Bree Wertman, a certified medical assistant with Samaritan Health Care in Moses Lake who was overseeing Wednesday’s drive-through clinic. “We have a really good turnout.”

Wertman said 240 people age 65 or older made appointments to get either the first or second jab of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, and Samaritan has partnered with Quincy Community Health, Confluence Health, Grant County Fire District 3 and the Quincy Police Department to get 252 vials of the vaccine into people’s arms.

“We have a lot of help,” she said.

“This is actually going really well,” said Michelle Talley, a firefighter and public information officer for Grant County Fire District 3. “We’re going to be here all day long, where we’re needed.”

While some first responders who got initial shots on Dec. 30 were coming back for their boosters, appointments were dominated by people seeking to get the first round of the vaccine.

“I’m vaccinated, both shots,” said Kelly Robison, a registered nurse at Quincy Valley Medical Center who was monitoring people after their injection to make sure there were no adverse reactions.

“We ask them to stay here for 15 minutes to see if they have any adverse reactions,” she said.

But it’s all part of the process to help battle COVID-19 in a community that struggled with the virus early in the pandemic.

“My husband has COPD and he’s had lung cancer, so he’s high risk,” said Irene Gans, 75, as she sat next to her husband Erv, 78, in the front of their pickup truck waiting for their turn. “I’m just (at) risk.”

“Our neighbor got it and passed away,” she added. “It hit Quincy hard.”

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.

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A line of cars stretches out the Quincy High School parking lot and down Jackrabbit Lane during Samaritan Health Care's drive through COVID-19 vaccination clinic for those aged 65 or older on Wednesday.

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Charles H. Featherstone

A line of cars stretches out the Quincy High School parking lot and down Jackrabbit Lane during Samaritan Health Care's drive through COVID-19 vaccination clinic for those aged 65 or older on Wednesday.

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Charles H. Featherstone

Galina Lutsenko, director of nursing services at Moses Lake Community Health Services, takes insurance and medical history information from Irene and Erv Gans as they wait to receive the first round of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during a drive-through clinic at Quincy High School on Wednesday.