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Vaccination clinics to come to end

ELKINS — Local health officials announced Monday the COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics that have been held weekly at the Phil Gainer Community Center would be coming to an end as the number of confirmed cases in Randolph County has increased from 11 last week to 15 currently.

The regional clinic, which has provided thousands of vaccinations for citizens from Randolph, Barbour, Tucker, Upshur, Webster and Pendleton counties, will no longer provide services after the next two weeks. And the next two clinics, which are scheduled for Thursday and April 29, will not be as long as the one’s in the past. Both clinics will be from 8 a.m. until noon, and both are for second doses only.

“This week and next week are our last big clinics at the Phil Gainer Center,” said Bonnie Woodrum, the Randolph Elkins Health Department’s infectious disease specialist. “But we will have some methods of getting those people who have not been vaccinated their shots.”

Woodrum said the Randolph Elkins Health Department, along with physicians’ offices and pharmacies will be among those places where citizens will still be able to get vaccinated after the clinic ends.

“People will need to call around and keep up with who is giving prime doses and when,” said Woodrum. “If places get Pfizer they will still be on that time crunch of when they have to use them, but if they get Moderna it has a longer shelf life.”

She also said there are many people who have skipped out on getting their boost doses (second dose) and that it is very important to get the second shot as soon as possible.

“We have had some people that have missed their second doses and they are not considered fully vaccinated until they get those second doses,” said Woodrum. “They might have some protection a few weeks after the first dose, but not the optimal protection. We have had people who had their first dose and still get COVID. So they are not as fully protected as they are when they get their second dose. It’s important that people keep their appointments on Thursday if they have them.”

Woodrum said everyone who has their first dose should already have their appointment scheduled for the second one, and they would not receive a phone call for an appointment.

“We do the calls for prime doses, when we are making appointments for people to come for the first time,” she said. “People were given appointments for their second doses when they were there for the first vaccination. It should be three weeks after their first dose.”

Woodrum also said the number of active cases in Randolph County has increased for a second straight week. Last week at this time there were 11 active cases in the county, while this week there are 15.

It was also announced last week that there were two active variant strains in the county. That number also increased this week as there are now three active variant strains.

“COVID is still here and according to the governor on Friday there were 16 new deaths,” said Woodrum. “This is still serious business.”

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