(TNS) - Days of planning came to fruition Friday as staff from the West Virginia National Guard and the Marion County Health Department administered 260 doses of COVID vaccine to local residents.
"We hope we get at least 260. We know we've got 260 doses of vaccine so we split that up between the folks at MVA which are our partners for this event and then some folks who were already on our list," said Lloyd White, administrator of the Marion County Health Department.
National Guardsman were making phone calls to ensure those who were on the waiting list would be vaccinated at the event, which was held at the armory in East Side. If someone canceled or didn't show up, health department staff moved on to the next person the waiting list.
White said he believes the phone bank the health department set up worked extremely well in tandem with the state's vaccine hotline number.
"The information that I have as of right now, we are slated to get 300 doses of vaccine every week for the foreseeable future," said White.
He hopes that the number of doses will increase. White said without the team efforts from the National Guard and MVA Fairmont Clinic and the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, the job of administering vaccines would be more difficult.
"Everyone working together and pulling together to make sure that we have the vaccinations delivered in a timely manner to those who need them most," said White.
He said he was excited that residents 65-plus can now get vaccinated despite being limited by the number of doses available.
"It took a lot of planning effort today. We had one nurse basically spend her whole day here yesterday getting things set up, making sure we were ready to go," he said.
Cathy Miller received her vaccine on Friday. She got the vaccine because her husband is a cancer survivor and they made the decision that because she works in the medical field it would be a smart idea to receive the vaccine. Miller works at MVA Clinic.
"It's a reassuring feeling," she said.
She said working in health care during the pandemic has had its ups and downs. Working in a private clinic, she's on the front line but not as bogged down as the hospitals due to the virus.
Miller said the vaccine will definitely change the way she lives. However, she will not stop wearing a mask and social distancing.
Erin Nelson, a nursing student from WVU, said administering the vaccine has been a great opportunity.
"I just hope this is one more step toward normalcy and it's really exciting to see all these people coming out," she said.
Decked out in a mask, face shield, a gown and gloves, Nelson said she's been participating in vaccine clinics for weeks and has received the vaccine herself.
"I didn't get any side effects so I came to the health department and we did it here. It was easy, it was painless, so I feel a lot more peace of mind now that I have it," she said.
Reach Sarah Marino at 304-367-2549
(c)2021 the Times West Virginian (Fairmont, W. Va.)
Visit the Times West Virginian (Fairmont, W. Va.) at www.timeswv.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.