Lyon’s Drug ramps up for 1st larger vaccination clinic at Steamboat Fit

People wait outside Lyon's Corner Drug after getting a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Lyon's has been doing clinics in the store but is ramping up this weekend to vaccinate people at Steamboat Fit. (Courtesy Rebecca Williams)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When Lyon’s Corner Drug started getting vaccines, pharmacist and owner Matt Johnson began preparing for when he would get a large shipment of vaccines at one time.

In his downtown Steamboat Springs pharmacy, they have been able to give vaccines at an impressive pace — about one shot every minute during a clinic — but that requires people to wait outside. Capacity limits restrict how many people can fit in the store, and to do a larger clinic, he would need more space.

“When I got approved to be a provider, we started finding partners that had incrementally larger places,” Johnson said.

Those plans will be put into operation this weekend as Lyon’s received 300 doses of the Moderna vaccine, which Johnson said should yield between 330 and 350 shots because they can often get an extra shot from the vials of vaccine. The day will start with a clinic at the pharmacy for second doses Sunday morning, about 120 total.

Right after that, things will shift over to Steamboat Fit on Anglers Drive for a first-dose clinic where Lyon’s will administer at least 180 first doses. Steamboat Fit is Johnson’s location for a clinic of 200 to 300 vaccinations, and if he’s doing more, Steamboat Christian Center is already on board to help out as well.

Lyon's Corner Drug owner and pharmacist Matt Johnson gives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in his store but has been making plans for the operation to be scalable, already lining up places to host larger vaccine clinics. (Courtesy Rebecca Williams)

“We are trying to be scalable, bigger than our company at first glance can be,” Johnson said. “This is our first opportunity to actually scale up.”

On Tuesday, when Steamboat Fit owner Rebecca Williams told a barre class they would not have class Sunday because of the clinic, they started clapping.

“The response I got from our community here at Steamboat Fit was just, please, this is more important, let’s do this,” Williams said.

Since she and her husband, Drew, opened Steamboat Fit, Williams said one of the most important questions they ask themselves is how can they improve the health of people in Steamboat. In that vein, they have tried to be a resource for information about COVID-19 throughout the pandemic and offering up her space for the clinic just made a lot sense.

“We plan on having some snacks for people and music going. To me, the clinic is kind of a community event,” said Williams, who has volunteered at most of the vaccine clinics Lyon’s has already done.

Johnson said he is also working with building owners downtown to potentially hold a drive-thru vaccination clinic later in the spring when it is warmer.

The Clark Store and Hahns Peak Roadhouse are on board as well, and later in the spring when it is nicer, Johnson said North Routt Fire Protection District firefighters have said they would open up their space, too. He also has secured some space in Hayden to do vaccines there as well.

Building these connections and having the planning done ahead of time is crucial, Johnson said, because the state does not give them a lot of notice about vaccine supply each week. On Sunday, he learned his request for vaccines had been approved, and when Johnson got tracking information from FedEx on Monday, he put the plan for this weekend’s clinic in motion. When Sunday’s clinic is completed, Lyon’s will have administered about 1,100 doses.

“We are not UCHealth, we are not a government entity, but we’re bringing the goods,” Johnson said.

When it comes to getting volunteers to work these clinics, Johnson said he has a list nearly as long as the one for vaccinations. Brittney Grimes, a registered nurse with Yampa Valley Medical Associates, said it is always a bit of a fight with her colleagues to get the chance to volunteer.

“You are kind of doing something awesome. When you do COVID swabs, it is kind of a sad thing sometimes, but vaccinations is just a good feeling to help people out,” Grimes said.

For Grimes, who grew up in Steamboat, it is rewarding to vaccinate people because she knows a lot of people who are in line to get the shots. A few weeks ago, while helping out, Grimes vaccinated the doctor who delivered her, which made her feel like she was paying it foreword.

“When you’re at the end of the day, you just feel so good about what you have done, you can’t really compare it to anything,” Grimes said. “It feels like you are saving a life.”

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