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Vaccination clinic set for Thursday

ELKINS — A mass vaccination clinic will be offered to those 65 and older at the Phil Gainer Community Center Thursday, officials reported.

Randolph and five other area counties will receive just 65 doses each this week and they will be available by appointment only. The vaccinations will be given at the Phil Gainer Community Center and appointments can be made by calling 304-637-3368.

Once all the appointments are filled, a message will inform residents that all the week’s slots are full and that the phone line will be reopened for appointments once more vaccine becomes available.

Residents from Barbour, Tucker, Upshur, Pendleton, and Webster counties are also eligible to be vaccinated at the clinic. Like Randolph, each of those counties has just 65 total vaccinations, however.

“The state is working with a regional setup rather than sending 40 or 50 doses to each county,” said Bonnie Woodrum, the Randolph-Elkins Health Department’s infectious disease specialist, during a conference call among county leaders Tuesday afternoon. “We are very much aware that we are asking the eldest of our population to come the furthest from other counties in the worst part of the weather. But that’s the way the state has it set up and there is nothing we can do to change it.

“We did inquire whether or not we could make mobile clinics, or deliver vaccines to other counties, and right now they just think the logistics are too great to risk losing vaccines in transport. So we are required to deliver those doses here for all the counties,” she said.

Officials are also hopeful that residents who are waiting for their second dose of a vaccination will be able to get shot No. 2 this week.

“We are waiting to hear if the second dose vaccines will be delivered when that other bulk vaccine is delivered,” said Woodrum. “We hope that will be on Wednesday and we do have a few days of leeway to get those second doses in. Many of our first responder doses are due this week so we’re still waiting to hear.”

There were 245 active COVID-19 cases in Randolph County as of Tuesday, and Woodrum said the health department is trying to follow close to 3,000 contacts associated with those active cases. There have now been 1,815 coronavirus-related deaths in West Virginia, including 31 in a 24-hour period between Monday and Tuesday.

“People need to be aware that we have a very small staff here at the health department,” said Woodrum. “We have been working seven days a week since this started, so calling and being angry with us doesn’t give us any more hours in the day. We are doing our very best, so people who get upset because our numbers don’t match the state’s numbers, or something, that’s way down on our priority list. So the public, our friends, and our supporters need to be patient with us.”

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