Nathaniel Johnson, sat in his truck Friday for drive-in services that might save his life.

Johnson, relieved that he was fortunate to survive cancer, has been concerned for the past year that he was at greater risk of contracting and dying from the coronavirus. But he is in the first group of Americans to receive the first of two COVID-19 vaccines.

Southeast Community Health Systems, with offices in several Louisiana communities including Zachary, has held vaccination clinics in the area for seniors and those with designated risk factors. Johnson attended the clinic at the Zachary Men’s Club with a drive-thru format.

Recipients stayed in their cars for the entire process. Groups of about 10 to 15 cars waited in the nearby Rollins Road Park until filing into the parking lot. The next waiting period involved providing ID and starting brief paperwork before getting the shot. A 15-minute waiting period was required before the recipients could leave to check for adverse reactions. Vaccine recipients will return in less than a month for the second of two vaccine shots.

Few complained about the process or the wait. Milton Hulbert said he was relieved knowing that he will not only be protecting himself, but those around him.

Top stories in Baton Rouge in your inbox

Twice daily we'll send you the day's biggest headlines. Sign up today.

“I find more confident about not getting that virus,” he said.

Southeast Community Health System is a Federally Qualified Health Center. Southeast operates 21 service sites in East Baton Rouge, Livingston, Tangipahoa and St. Helena parishes. Earlier in the same week, the system held a vaccination clinic at Oakwood Village Assisted Living. Vaccine shots were given to the residents, staff and members of the community.

Members of the Zachary Men’s Clubs and staff members Oakwood Village volunteered during both vaccination events. Directly after the Zachary Men’s Club clinic, the group held another clinic in nearby Baker.

Zachary vaccinations clinics will be held on Jan. 20 at the Zachary Council on Aging and Jan. 22 at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church.