COVID vaccination roll out for St. John’s shelter

The NEW Community Clinic and Brown County Public Health are working in partnership to bring access to the COVID-19 vaccine to guests, staff and volunteers of St. John’s. We connected with the Kay Hartman, NEW Community Clinic’s COVID-19 Coordinator, to learn more about this process and what it means for our St. John’s family.

Kay is a Registered Nurse who has been working on the front lines of our community’s COVID response since it began, and she came into her grant-funded position with the clinic in August. St. John’s is not new to Kay. She’s been a volunteer with one of our meal teams for the past six years, making a monthly meal for our shelter guests. She has a passion for working to serve our community members in need. In her current role, she takes the big picture trends and information on the state and federal levels and brings that to the clinic to best serve people locally.

The vaccine roll-out to local shelters began March 1, 2021. While the vaccine is completely voluntary, Kay says that she encourages people to seek official sources of vaccine information regarding effectiveness and safety, “There is more known about the safety of the vaccines than the long-term effects of COVID-19. Reach out to the clinic or your healthcare provider with questions,” she says.

As a federally qualified health clinic (FQHC), the NEW Community Clinic is guaranteed that their full vaccine requests will be fulfilled. This gives Kay peace of mind and the ability to schedule vaccinations into the future. Guests at St. John’s are currently being vaccinated at the clinic. They are able to call to make an appointment or schedule their appointment at any of the regular times clinic staff are on-site at shelter or the Micah Center. The appointment must be scheduled in advance, because it tells Kay and clinic staff how many doses of the vaccine are needed – the appointment essentially reserved your dose.

When a guest schedules their appointment, they will be asked basic health screening questions. When they come into the 622 Bodart St. location for their appointment, they will follow signs to the lower level where there is a waiting area as well as private spaces for the vaccine injection. Anyone who is vaccinated must wait 15-30 minutes to be monitored for allergic reactions. Those being vaccinated are provided with information on the vaccine and the expected, normal side effects. They are also able to ask questions of the medical staff. After the 1st vaccine is administered, the second vaccine appointment is scheduled at 3-4 weeks out.

People being vaccinated might ask which vaccine they are going to get. As Kay explains, that varies. The state of Wisconsin distributes the vaccines to local communities, and the clinic has received both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to-date. However, Kay says that she hopes to have access to the Johnson and Johnson vaccine soon, because the single dose is ideal for a transient population like some of the guests served by St. John’s.

In addition to scheduling vaccine appointments at their clinic, our guests will have the opportunity to become vaccinated at one of many community vaccination events taking place in the near future. One site will be the Salvation Army on Mather St. and another will be the YWCA on Madison St. If a guest wishes to go to their local provider or other vaccine site, the clinic can also help provide transportation assistance within the community. For Kay, it is simple: remove barriers to getting the vaccine so those who want to be vaccinated can, “We are focused on how we can serve people who would likely not be able to get the vaccine if it were not for the clinic.”From a public health perspective, Kay says that it is extremely important to promote community health and to target congregate living settings, like shelters, where people are at higher risk need greater protections. “I’m very impressed,” Kay says of the response she’s seen from St. John’s. She sees how we are going above and beyond to promote safety. “St. John’s is doing a really great job, especially with screening new guests for COVID as they enter the shelter,” Kay says. When guests enter shelter, they are able to receive a COVID test and get the results within 15 minutes. Guests then have a slip of paper that shows their test result, which many have used for employment or simply carry with them.As we look toward the future, the state anticipates higher allocations of vaccinations to every area of Wisconsin each week as we move through March, April, May. Kay says to not hesitate to reach out to a healthcare provider or the NEW Community Clinic with questions about getting vaccinated.Clinic Location:
N.E.W. Community Clinic
622 Bodart Street
Green Bay, WI 54301Phone: 920-437-7206Note: Guests who complete their second dose of the vaccine will receive a $10 gift card.

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