Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine arrives in Greenlee County

Video Still/Courtesy Greenlee County Health Department: Dr. Fred Fox receives his COVID-19 vaccination shot Monday morning.

Health department director receives first shot

By Jon Johnson

Video By Laura Dorrell

GREENLEE COUNTY – The Greenlee County Health Department held an event Monday morning, in which its medical director, Dr. Fred Fox, became the first person in Greenlee County to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

After Dr. Fox received his injection, other healthcare workers in Greenlee County also received the vaccine.

“I’m excited about the vaccine being here,” Dr. Fox said. “It’s a safe vaccine and very effective. It’s even more effective than getting COVID yourself and recovering. It’s likely to last longer – the immune response – than does recovering from COVID.”

The Moderna vaccine consists of two doses 28 days apart and utilizes a messenger RNA vaccine. Full protection doesn’t occur until two weeks after the second dose. The shot goes into muscle cells and produces a “spike” protein from the coronavirus, which then makes an immunological protection against the virus. After the messenger RNA goes through its process it then breaks down.

Contributed Photo: Dr. Fred Fox readies himself to receive the first COVID-19 vaccination in Greenlee County on Monday.

Even with the arrival of the vaccine, Dr. Fox encouraged the continued vigilance of physical distancing, washing hands regularly, avoiding large gatherings, and wearing a mask.

There is a limited amount of vaccine currently available, so the first group – 1A – are healthcare workers. The second group – 1B – will be older people 75 years and older and frontline essential workers, including police and fire, teachers, daycare workers, grocery store workers, and manufacturing. The third group – 1C – will include anyone 65 years and older and those with high-risk medical conditions. The last group will be healthy, younger people, and they will not likely be able to all be vaccinated until April or May.

“I feel fine,” Dr. Fox said after he was given the shot.

According to Greenlee County Health Department Director of Health Steve Rutherford, there is currently no timetable for the general public to receive the vaccination. The vaccination will be free – when it becomes available. For more information contact the Greenlee County Health Department at (928) 865-2601.

Graham County

According to Graham County Department of Health and Human Services Director Brian Douglas, the health department will receive 600 doses of the Moderna vaccine Wednesday and will distribute them to the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center and other healthcare providers on Monday, Dec. 28.

The first doses in Graham County will go to healthcare workers and residents and workers in long-term care facilities, according to Douglas.