COVID-19 vaccinations underway in state

By Kayla (Hawthorne) Dunham - [email protected]

POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Health Department held a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Saturday for residents ages 80 and older.

Jennifer Thomas, Mason County Health Department administrator, said the department received 100 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from the state. Thomas said they were able to administer all 100 vaccines to Mason County residents aged 80 years and older.

The clinic was at the Point Pleasant Jr./Sr. High School parking lot on Saturday and was based on a first come, first served basis.

“We do not have any other clinics scheduled at this time,” Thomas told the Register in an email on Monday. “It just goes day-by-day, whenever we are notified by the state that more vaccine is available for us.”

Last week, Gov. Jim Justice announced the state would start allocating vaccines to be administered to individuals age 80 and older, beginning “immediately” on Wednesday.

In the press release from Justice’s office, the governor stated there would be a limited supply of the vaccine and the availability is based on what West Virginia received from the federal government.

As of Monday, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) reported 103,375 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been received by the state. Of those, 52,221 doses had been administered to West Virginians.

On the state’s COVID-19 vaccination website, DHHR reports the “focus in vaccine distribution is to take care of the most vulnerable West Virginians.” The first phase of vaccine is to be distributed to those in “high-risk settings” — such as healthcare, emergency responders, and long-term care facilities. The distribution plan is to make more vaccine available to the general public as the state receives more does and has vaccinated those in the high-risk settings.

In the press release, the governor urged residents to not show up at local health departments or National Guard armories to receive a vaccination. Clinics will be scheduled by local health departments and announced when there is availability for the vaccinations.

During his press conference on Monday, Gov. Justice announced the state has opened a COVID-19 vaccine info line at 1-833-734-0965. The governor also said he anticipated making an announcement on Tuesday regarding “where we’re going to be as far as being able to vaccinate the teachers and the service personnel and where we’re going to be in regard to vaccinating the 80 year olds plus…”

At his press conference, the governor was also asked about reports that some residents 80 years and older were waiting in long lines across the state for vaccines and reports some of those were turned away without those shots due to vaccine availability.

The governor said an “appointment situation” was being considered for distribution but added the state wanted to be “absolutely comfortable we’ve got enough vaccines” when discussing this option. Gov. Justice also spoke about getting vaccines out as quickly as possible to as many as possible.

“I want them in people’s arms,” Justice said.

Beth Sergent contributed to this article.

© 2020 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

By Kayla (Hawthorne) Dunham

[email protected]

Kayla (Hawthorne) Dunham is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.

Kayla (Hawthorne) Dunham is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.