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Local medical personnel get first round of COVID-19 vaccines

by Kate Shunney

Just days after West Virginia received its first shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, Morgan County health professionals got their first doses under the state’s distribution plan.

Berkeley County is one of five distribution “hubs” around the state.

Nurse director Angela Gray, who is spearheading the Berkeley-Morgan County Health Department vaccine distribution efforts, receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Kelli on Wednesday, December 16.

The others hubs are in Kanawha, Monongalia, Cabell and Greenbrier counties.

 

As of Monday, both the Berkeley and Morgan County Health Departments had used their allotment of vaccines. Health officials said in a public post they don’t know when they will receive more from the state, and which group of people will next be vaccinated.

Under the state’s vaccine distribution plan, frontline workers in medical fields, residents of long-term care facilities, emergency responders and public health officials will be first to get the vaccine doses. They will be followed by teachers and education workers, and people who work in “critical services” related to government, utilities and transportation.

“Once we begin to receive vaccine again, we will continue to administer per the priority groups assigned by the state,” said Morgan County health officials. “Our staff have no further details on who falls into which priority group.”

Kristina Waugh, NP, was the first COVID-19 vaccine recipient at War Memorial Hospital on Thursday, December 17. Nursing supervisor Samantha (Sam) Smith, RN, gave the shot.

According to state health officials, Phase One of the distribution plan will get the vaccine to those in the above categories now through February.

Phase 2, in which the general population will have access to the COVID-19 vaccine, is expected to start in March, assuming the continued availability of the vaccines.

“General populace vaccine shipments are currently estimated to arrive in March and will be prioritized by age,” the Morgan County Health Department said. “Our staff cannot change prioritization groups or tell you when additional vaccine will be available.”

Full details about the state’s vaccine deployment plan is available on the West Virginia DHHR website, along with other COVID-19 data and testing notices.

As on Monday, the state had received 16,575 doses of the vaccine and had administered 15,135 doses – all in less than a week.

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