Waldo County General Hospital had given over 2,133 COVID-19 vaccinations to patients as of Feb. 11 for that week and none of them had had a severe reaction, according to Senior Director of Operations Denise Needham.

Patients receiving coronavirus shots through WCGH have been impressed with the hospital’s system of getting patients through the process in a timely manner.

Janie Stockwell Morrison wrote under a post on the hospital's Facebook page Feb. 12 “We got our first doses in Belfast today. Everyone was so kind and everything was well organized. Thank you to everyone who helped us today.”

The staff has developed a system that gets patients vaccinated and out the door within 25 to 30 minutes from the time they first enter the former MBNA building at 21 Schoodic Drive, Needham said. Some patients who need to be observed for 30 minutes rather than the typical 15 minutes spend more time inside the facility.

Patients are not allowed in the building more than 10 minutes before their appointment, she said. And they must wear face masks and use hand sanitizer upon entry, then hospital staff asks questions about COVID-19 symptoms they may be experiencing.

Patients who are experiencing any symptoms of illness, including fever, prior to their appointment are asked to reschedule. The MaineHealth call center will work with affected patients to reschedule their appointment. The clinic has no problems with patients challenging its protocols.

There are up to 25 hospital staff members helping to run the clinic, she said, and all of them have appropriate personal protective equipment, depending on their level of interaction with the public. All staff must wear masks and use hand sanitizer often.

The hospital receives a certain number of doses per week depending on what the state gives it, Needham said. The number of doses the hospital will receive for the week is determined on the Thursday prior.

Patients are scheduled according to how many doses the hospital gets, she said. The hospital does not plan to stop administering vaccinations until everyone in the community who wants to be is vaccinated. “Everybody in the community that wants one,” she said. “That’s our hope.”

At present, only people over 70 are eligible for the vaccine, but everyone is encouraged to preregister for a vaccination appointment so they are already on the waiting list when all age groups are eligible, which is expected to be in June. For more information about how to sign up to receive the shots, call 877-780-7545.