WASILLA — Mat-Su Health Services recently served 390 people during a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Menard Sports Center.
“It was a huge success,” Mat-Su Health Services COO Victoria Knapp said.
Mat-Su Health Services employees set up various stations and waiting areas that were spread across the turf arena. Vaccine recipients pre-registered for this clinic ahead of time and cycled through the building throughout the morning and afternoon Jan. 23.
According to Knapp, the clinic was an effective and seamless process and they received a lot of positive feedback from their clients.
“They’re very appreciative, and they thought this went smoothly and it was a good environment,” Knapp said.
There was no charge for the vaccines, and the small administrative fee was billed to clients’ insurance policies. Knapp explained that even those without insurance would have their fees covered by the federal government.
“That’s our mission... This is the epitome of our mission. We are trying to make sure we have a healthy community,” Knapp said. “If you work at a nonprofit, you’re there for the mission.”
Mat-Su Health Services is a federally funded community health center that works to provide care for patients regardless of their ability to pay. Their services include family medicine, women’s health services, dental care, and behavioral health care.
“We’re always willing to help the community,” Knapp said.
Mat-Su Health Services family doctor and medical director Dr. Susie Dillon was one of several staff members helping out during the clinic. She said that she enjoyed interacting with the various community members.
“I thought it was fun… We’re happy to help,” Dillon said
Dillon has been with Mat-Su Health Services for over 13 years. She said the vaccines are a vital tool that will help pave the way for an eventual resolution to the pandemic, stressing the importance of vaccinating as many people as possible while educating the public on all matters surrounding the vaccine.
“If we’re really gonna turn this COVID-19 problem around we need to get vaccines in arms,” Dillon said.
Mat-Su Health Services is on track to administer nearly 1,200 vaccines by the end of the month, according to Knapp.
“I think we all want things to return to normal as quickly as possible… A lot of the seniors can’t wait to see their grandchildren,” Knapp said.
There were three no shows toward the end of the clinic. Knapp offered the last shots to walk ins.
“We’re not wasting a single dose of this,” Knapp said.
Donald and Sharon Frost received a call from Knapp since they were at the top of the reserve list. They drove down to the Menard and received the last two doses.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Sharon said. “We really really appreciate it. We appreciate all the work they put in.”
Sharon said they’ve been fairly hunkered down since the onset of the pandemic due to their age bracket. She said they’ve been limiting their family visits and trips outside their home. She said they had to sacrifice a lot to stay safe, including their Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings. She said that’s one of the main motivations to get vaccinated as quickly as they can.
“I’m glad we have this here, and I’m glad we got the call,” Sharon said.
Donald said that he and his wife are not technologically savvy and they shouldn’t have to be to apply for a vaccination. He said that too much of the process is not only online, but difficult to manage, even for people more tech minded than they are. He said that he ended up calling every clinic he could to find some answers.
“I just left messages everywhere… They ought to make things simpler,” Donald said.
Donald and Judy are both eager to get out more and spend more time with their family.
“We’re just hoping we can get this under control, and start living a normal life again,” Donald said.
Mat-Su Health Services offers COVID-19 vaccinations each week by appointment only. Knapp said they’re averaging 40 to 50 vaccines a day. She encourages people to call since there’s no cost for the vaccine.
Mat-Su Health Services has a clinic in Wasilla and another in Big Lake. For more information, call 907-376-2411 or visit mshsak.org.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org