by Kate Shunney
A squadron of Health Department staff, medical personnel, National Guard soldiers and volunteers closed out Morgan County’s final community vaccination clinic on Saturday, May 1 at Warm Springs Intermediate School.
Medical workers vaccinated 564 people during the all-day clinic in Berkeley Springs on Saturday. Many of those were second doses for local residents who had waited a month to finish up their vaccination doses.
That ends four months of weekly or bi-monthly clinic events aimed at vaccinating county residents against the highly contagious COVID-19 respiratory disease.
Each clinic day required roughly 70 people to operate, from parking and traffic guides to greeters, medical paperwork staff, vaccinators, EMS staff for the observation room and medical aides to prepare vaccine doses. Community groups kept clinic workers and volunteers supplied with food and refreshments.
Mass community vaccinations began in Morgan County in January as vaccines started flowing into the state. Priority groups — those over the age of 80 – were vaccinated first. State officials slowly widened eligibility to younger groups. Now, anyone over the age of 16 can receive the free vaccination.
According to state health data, 4,458 county residents have now received doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. As of Monday, that did not include doses given at Saturday’s clinic.
Data shows 30% of county residents over the age of 18 have gotten the vaccine, and 49.4% of county residents over the age of 65 have been vaccinated.
Vaccine figures for the county have gone down over recent weeks, but even local health officials can’t explain why data has shifted in that direction as they continue to give vaccines each week.
Wider supply chain
Vaccines are now available through local pharmacies, including Walgreens and Reed’s, and through some local doctor’s offices and health clinics. Public health officials had planned to wrap up community vaccination clinics when the vaccine supply was widely available enough for the general public to get it from multiple sources without a substantial waiting period.
County residents can contact pharmacies or their primary doctor directly for a vaccine.
Vaccinations are also available through the Morgan County Health Department by appointment.
Local health workers are still helping to staff the large-scale regional drive-through vaccination clinic being run at the Charles Town Hollywood Casino. WVU Medicine East is running the weekly clinics at 750 Hollywood Drive on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Appointments are required to receive a vaccine through this clinic.
Individuals can self-schedule online using a laptop or desktop computer, or call the COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center at (304) 901-7060. Schedule online at https://vaccine.wvumedicine.org/East. Individuals must use a laptop or desktop computer to self-schedule, since appointments can’t be scheduled using a smartphone.