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Health department to hold by-appointment-only COVID-19 vaccine clinic Thursday, Friday

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department is now scheduling appointments for Upshur County residents ages 80 and older to receive the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday and Friday at the health department.

Health department nurse director Sue McKisic said at least 150 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will be delivered to the health department sometime today. The vaccines will be administered by appointment only to people ages 80 and older beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 7. Vaccine administration is expected to continue through Friday, Jan. 8.

Please call the health department at 304-472-2810 to express interest in scheduling an appointment to receive the first dose of the vaccine, and you will be contacted back with an appointment time.

“We will begin giving those vaccines Thursday, January 7, 2021, at 9 a.m.,” McKisic wrote in a press release sent out Wednesday. “We have a process that we will be following. Please remain in your vehicle until Health Department Staff speak with you. There will be additional parking available at the Upshur County Senior Center.”

“We do not have the vaccine on site currently,” the release continues. “This is by appointment only. We must be able to work this way due to honoring [safety] guidelines. You will be called, and your name put with an appointment time. If you have previously called, we will be calling you with an appointment time. We must work in a specified time frame; we are busy contacting you and scheduling these appointments.”

Because the exact number of first doses is unknown – McKisic says she was told it could range from 150 to 180 – if the health department runs out of vaccines, the name of anyone who has signed up for an appointment will be placed on the list for the next shipment of vaccines.

McKisic said she’s asking community members to bear with the health department and practice patience.

“We do not know dates of vaccine delivery until just a few hours prior,” she said. “We are doing our best to get this vaccine out to our senior population. Please work with us – your cooperation is appreciated.”

As of 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, there had been seven deaths in Upshur County due to COVID-19, and 280 cases are currently active.

McKisic stressed the importance of receiving the vaccine, especially people 80 and over.

“It’s very important they receive this because they are a very vulnerable population, and we need to get shots in arms, as we have been instructed to do,” she said.

The West Virginia Army National Guard will be delivering the vaccines sometime Wednesday, but McKisic said she was unsure of exactly when.

Community Care of West Virginia administered the vaccines to the 80-and-over population last week because of extremely short notice, McKisic said.

“We could just not accept the doses or the shipment of the vaccine last week for the 80 and over population due to short notice and safety concerns,” she said. “We wanted it to be done as safely as possible, and we could not do it in that short time frame, so when I expressed that to my supervisor, she approved it being given to the local community health center, which is Community Care of West Virginia.”

Community Care of West Virginia is categorized as a federally qualified health center, she said, which is why CCWV could receive and administer the doses, and no other entity could.

To learn more about the vaccine, visit the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources website at vaccinate.wv.gov.

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