One Shot Wonder

Mar 17, 2021 | by Doug Donahoo

An important step in the country’s vaccination drive against COVID-19 made its way into arms over the weekend at The Salvation Army’s Olathe, Kan. corps. Against a gray, drizzly sky on Saturday, nurses from Olathe Health injected the Johnson and Johnson vaccine into the arms of people struggling with homelessness and other underserved residents in Johnson County.

Dr. Phil Schneider, director of pharmacy for Olathe Health, oversaw the vaccine clinic in the Olathe corps’ chapel, a real partnership in multiple agencies making it happen.

“We coordinated with County to supply the vaccine and to approve this population to be eligible for receiving the vaccine. The Salvation Army went to some other agencies to recruit patients in and get it advertised and word out,” Schneider said.

Besides just the relief of getting the vaccination, the J&J vaccine provides another tangible benefit, according to Dr. Schneider.

“We thought that J&J would be the optimal choice for this population just because the difficulty with the two-dose regiment with the other vaccines. One does is optimal.”

The J&J vaccine, as the newcomer to the battle against COVID-19, offers an effective immune response to the virus with just the one dose, as opposed to the two doses required by the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

Olathe corps officer Lieutenant Nate Woodard agreed the J&J vaccine was an important tool in getting as many people in Johnson County and the state of Kansas vaccinated as quickly as possible.

“We feel like it's part of our duty and meeting needs to make this available to that population because they're the ones that are at the most risk,” Lt. Woodard said. “So, the more individuals that experiencing homelessness or that are vulnerable that we are able to help get the vaccination to quicker; they can move on to transitioning to the next steps in their life.”

The vaccine clinic had 300 doses available for two days, and Dr. Schneider hoped to see plenty of folks walking into the Olathe corps building, an attitude shared by corps officer, Lt. Woodard.

“We’re easy to find, easy to locate a lot of people already know how to get here and we have the space. It's called the Community Center for a reason; we're available to the community. Because I believe that collaboration is part of how we meet our mission,” Lt. Woodard said.

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