by Kate Evans
Morgan County’s older residents over the holidays started to receive their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as it became available.
Local medical practices and the Health Department alerted those over age 80 of the availability of a limited number of doses here in the county.
Morgan County Health Department staff advertised and set up appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations for the priority age group of 80 years old and older on Wednesday, December 30 once vaccines were received.
Health Department staff came in and administered vaccines on Thursday, December 31 for two hours by appointment despite the agency being closed for the holidays.
Staff said in a Facebook post that they will give as much notice as possible when they have more COVID-19 vaccine doses available for priority groups and have openings for scheduling appointments for vaccinations.
The Governor’s Office has said that the West Virginia National Guard’s Interagency Task Force is finalizing plans for widespread vaccine distribution to individuals age 80 and older.
Other priority groups, from health workers to patients at long-term care centers, have already been part of vaccination efforts since the first doses arrived in West Virginia.
There are limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccine right now, but an ongoing supply will be available for this age group through local Health Departments and at Federally Qualified Health Centers for their patients.
Local federally qualified health centers are Mountaineer Community Health Center and Tri-State Community Health Center in Berkeley Springs.
As the supply increases, more vaccines will be available to the general population based on age and will be distributed on a first come, first served basis once they are available at sites throughout West Virginia.
Vaccination clinics haven’t been scheduled yet by the National Guard.
The Health Department The West Virginia Department of Education is working with the Governor’s Office, the DHHR and the National Guard to coordinate a timeline for COVID-
19 vaccine rollout for all West Virginia school employees age 50 or older. County school superintendents will let their personnel know specifics about vaccine administration. Education officials are part of the priority vaccination group as the state moves to return students to classrooms for in-person learning.
As of Tuesday, January 5, state health officials reported that # doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given in West Virginia. A total of # doses have been received by the state and are being distributed through several regional hubs.
A West Virginia COVID-19 Vaccine Info Line has been set up to offer more details to state residents about the vaccine and its distribution: 1-833-734-0965. Residents can also go to vaccinate.wv.gov.
Kate Shunney contributed to this story.