Community Gem: Tracy Clare plays huge part in vaccination push

Tracy Clare
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Tracy Clare

OAKWOOD — The first COVID-19 vaccination clinic by Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County was held on Christmas Eve, and it was an eye-opener, Tracy Clare said.

Clare, the organization’s planning and training specialist and a retired Air Force master sergeant, said she felt like she was deployed again. The clinic was hard, but she and her team made it a success.

“We knew that we were going to be able to do this,” said Clare, 57, of Oakwood.

And they did. Since that clinic, Public Health has performed more than 87,000 vaccinations, one time vaccinating 3,000 people in a single day. At its peak, Public Health was performing between 1,500 and 2,500 vaccinations per day, Clare said.

As the “event planner,” Clare’s tasks to coordinate each clinic included training staff, recruiting volunteers, ensuring efficiency and fixing problems as they arose. Once, that even involved shoveling sidewalks.

Clare worked 7 days a week for 3 months, walking miles a day throughout the Dayton Convention Center, where most of the vaccination clinics were located.

When the pandemic started, Clare began to plan how to conduct mass testing. Even as that continued, efforts shifted to vaccinations as well. Now Public Health is further preparing for the possibility of booster shots.

Jillian Botteicher works with Clare as a quality improvement project manager at Public Health and nominated Clare as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem. Much of the work that Clare does goes unnoticed, she said, and her reach during the pandemic has extended from staffing to setting up to working with others to help build a software system to document vaccines.

“She’s always in one way or another the backbone to how we respond in Dayton,” said Botteicher, of Miamisburg.

Clare has planned for the unknown, and each day has presented new challenges.

“I enjoyed the challenge of having to fix it,” she said.