The Franklin County Health Board met for its first quarterly meeting of the year on Tuesday, Jan. 19, where they gave an update on how vaccine distribution was going locally.

Angie Ruther, RN and supervisor of the Franklin County Health Department, said vaccines started a week prior to the health board meeting. The health department began vaccinating three days, and are now vaccinating every weekday. At the time of the meeting, Ruther said the FCHD had administered about 200 vaccines.

The health department can schedule 36 vaccines a day, which is one every 10 minutes. Ruther said they have had lots of help in their department and everything is running smoothly. The main hiccups, according to Ruther, have been from computers and getting people registered.

“It's been a group effort and everybody has helped in the department,” said Ruther.

Franklin County is currently administering the Moderna vaccine and currently the only side effects have been a few body aches and sore arms. Ruther said Moderna is likely what they will continue to administer as the Pfizer vaccine has to be kept ultra-cold. The Moderna vaccine, once thawed, is good for 30 days, but Ruther said the health department only gets out what they need in a day.

Two weeks after the second dose is administered is when those vaccinated are said to have protections. However, the vaccinated still need to use precautions such as masks and social distancing. The second dose is administered 28 days after the first dose. The health department gives the second appointment date, so there is no additional registration process.

Jennifer Profitt is currently helping people register for the vaccine, as well as a group of others she has organized to aid those in the registration process. She also said churches and other organizations are helping people sign up. Those who apply can register for the vaccine at www.ourshot.in.gov.

Bridget Hayes, a reporter for The Observer, asked the health department how they were keeping the public up to date on COVID-19 statistics seeing as their Facebook page was no longer active and the commissioners were not giving updates. Ruther said they have had to shift their focus completely to vaccines, and there is a lot of information going out through local media sources as well as the Indiana State Department of Health website. The main thing the FCHD updated the commissioners on was recoveries. 

As of Jan. 26, there were 1,003 first doses administered in Franklin County with 189 fully vaccinated. In total in Indiana, 459,701 first doses have been administered and 106,874 are fully vaccinated.

Additionally, from October.-December the health department did have an occasional Hepatitis C case, salmonella and animal bites, but was mostly dominated by COVID-19. 

Curt Cox, the Franklin County environmental health specialist, was working with county sanitarian Dave Fehlinger to raise septic permit fees. However, commissioners left the residential permits as is, renewals as are, and only raised the commercial permit which didn't exist before. Commercial permits are $100. Cox said the current fee prices don't cover overhead or the time it takes to complete the task. 

The next health board meeting will be Tuesday, April 20.