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Bloomsburg Fairgrounds set as coronavirus vaccine location

Officials are making plans to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine in Columbia County when it becomes available.

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. — Columbia County commissioners and EMA officials are making plans to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds, the same site used for mass testing.

Testing at the fairgrounds went off without a hitch, and officials feel it's the best place to offer the vaccine when it's available.

"Most people from the county and even surrounding counties are familiar with the area to know where the fairgrounds was," said Columbia County EMA Director Jennifer Long.

Unlike getting a coronavirus test, getting the COVID-19 vaccine requires that a person stays on-site for 15 minutes in case of a reaction. That's why organizers say the setup and logistics at the fairground will look a little bit different.

"With the vaccine, we're worried about a backlog of cars coming in if we get a rush, so we've reversed the flow of traffic so we can put more cars in the parking lot waiting to get the vaccine," explained Columbia County Sheriff Tim Chamberlain.

Instead of entering through the Bloomsburg Fair arch off Fort McClure Blvd., people will enter through an entrance just up the road, make their way to the vaccination area, and then turn into the fair parking areas.

There are 100 acres of parking space available.

They'll exit through the arch, where they have easy access back to Route 11.

Per the Department of Health, 1,100 doses of the vaccine have been administered so far in Columbia County.

"We asked, well, where were they administered, nursing homes? assisted living? hospitals? Give us a breakdown, and we can't get that," said Columbia County Commissioner Chris Young.

But as far as when we can expect more, there's been no word from the Department of Health. The state is prioritizing health care workers and nursing home residents with the vaccine first. People more vulnerable to the virus will come after that.

"We already have plans in place, and I'm sure every other county has plans in place. Larger counties have their own department of health," said Commissioner Young.

Officials say it's important that details are sorted out now, so when they get more information from the Department of Health, there are no hangups at the county level.

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