100,000 COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Distributed Locally by Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare

May 13, 2021
The global distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is unlike any other healthcare initiative the world has ever seen. The speed, scale and volume of the program meant organizations and professionals everywhere were pausing their typical responsibilities to focus exclusively on vaccinating eligible people.

In the Big Bend region, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (TMH) stepped forward as the hospital leader for local vaccinations. “To best protect our community, TMH volunteered to partner with the State of Florida and Leon County Department of Health to distribute and administer as many COVID-19 vaccines as possible,” shared, Dean Watson, MD, Vice President & Chief Integration Officer at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare. “We give ourselves seven days to receive a vaccine and administer it either through a TMH clinic or via one of our distribution partners. We don’t help people by stockpiling vaccine; we need to share it.”

To date, TMH has distributed or administered more than 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine. It has been an extraordinary team effort. Lindsay Ancheta, Director of Business Development, typically works closely with area medical providers and hospitals to share education and resources. Her responsibilities have pivoted to include working with TMH’s Pharmacy department to receive and distribute vaccines to these same providers and hospitals. “TMH cares about doing what is right for our community and being part of this vaccine distribution process is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. To know the work I spend many hours doing is directly helping people is incredibly rewarding,” explained Lindsay.

While vaccinating healthcare professionals in the community, TMH mirrored the model utilized at the Northwood Centre COVID-19 Sample Collection Site and established a drive-thru vaccine clinic. TMH also distributed vaccines to Bond Community Health Center, Capital Health Plan, Neighborhood Medical Center, Tallahassee Primary Care Associates, TMH Physician Partners practices and many other independent physicians’ offices so they could offer the vaccine through their practices. While many communities across the country were removing primary care providers from the vaccine equation, TMH did the opposite. “Primary care providers are an essential component of our vaccine efforts. They referred patients who met the medically-vulnerable criteria to TMH and hosted vaccine clinics in their practices so we could protect people against COVID-19 as quickly as possible,” added Dr. Watson.

The demand for vaccines remained high and the vaccine supply became more consistent, so TMH decided to scale-up the drive-thru vaccine model used with healthcare workers to support eligible adults and medically vulnerable patients.

Located on the hospital’s main campus behind TCC’s Ghazvini Center, the drive-thru clinic brought together the success from the Northwood site as well as the Rapid Response COVID-19 Testing Lab TMH established in partnership with Florida State University. Allison Marsh, BSN, RN, Director of Projects and Technology, became well-versed in drive-thru clinics while vaccinating TMH colleagues and healthcare professionals. She was tapped to lead the community drive-thru as the Clinic Lead for the site. Allison recruited as many eligible clinical professionals as possible. “From nursing students with their preceptors , respiratory therapy students and medical students, physician residents to current and retired registered nurses and medical providers, dozens of clinical volunteers administered vaccines in the cold, heat, rain, wind and sunshine to help our community,” noted Allison.

After a successful “go live” of the TMH/FSU Rapid Response testing Lab, Leanne Adkins, PMP, BSN, RN, Director of Enterprise Project Management, was asked to lead the scheduling and flow aspects of the clinic, which were necessary to scale-up the clinic to support the community demand.

TMH turned to ClockwiseMD for scheduling and transitioned the platform, initially intended for TMH’s Urgent Care Center, to schedule vaccine appointments. At first the scheduling was done through a call center, which was staffed by colleagues and volunteers from TMH and the City of Tallahassee. As the eligibility criteria began to expand, the call schedule became busier, and the online self-scheduling system opened. The drive-thru clinic was expanded again to vaccinate nearly 2,000 people each Thursday and again on Friday.

“So many departments, volunteers, colleagues and community partners came together for a common cause,” explained Leanne. “From the call center who received referrals and scheduled appointments to the clinical team who administered the vaccines to patients, it took many people collaborating across multiple touchpoints to ensure a smooth and positive experience for our community.”

The drive-thru vaccine clinic has successfully vaccinated 25,000+ people against COVID-19. “All of the volunteers, most of whom work full time in other areas, gave their time, energy and effort without hesitation. We only rescheduled one clinic and that was due to a tornado warning. The selfless commitment of our volunteers, retirees, students, colleagues, medical staff and community partners is what made this accomplishment possible,” shared Allison.

Through these incredible efforts, TMH distributed more than 100,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine throughout our community in just three months – this has been no small feat. Thank you to every single colleague, provider, volunteer and community partner that has made this possible and for your unwavering commitment to fighting COVID-19 and keeping us safe.

Due to a significant drop in demand for the vaccine, TMH held our final first dose drive-thru vaccine clinic on Thursday, April 22. While first doses are no longer being offered at our facilty, we encourage Florida residents who have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine to visit the Leon County Department of Health’s Leon County Vax Map to find locations nearest them to receive the vaccine. This is how we beat COVID-19 and return to normalcy – together.