Marion Co., West Virginia, Department of Health to Host Two Community COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics This Week | New
FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WV News) – The Marion County Health Department will be hosting two evening COVID-19 vaccination clinics at high schools in the area this week with the goal of giving injections to local students and the general population.
The department will be set up on Mondays at North Marion High School from 5 to 7 p.m. and Wednesdays at East Fairmont High School from 7 to 9 p.m.
The two clinics come in after Marion County Health Department Administrator Lloyd White and Director of Nursing Meagan Payne visited student-athletes at each of the county’s three high schools to speak the importance of the vaccine.
The clinics will be open to everyone in the community, but Payne said she mostly hopes to vaccinate as many students as possible.
“I really hope people come out, especially the athletes we spoke to,” she said. “We’ve seen a few more, but we’d love to see more and more, and not just student-athletes. We want a group, a choir or any other group activity. Just protect yourself and protect your family.
Payne said that over the past week, the department administered about 77 vaccines at walk-in clinics. While this is not the highest number the department has had in a week, it is higher than last month’s rates.
However, White said that with the increasing trend of COVID-19 cases every day, it is a worrying time.
“I don’t care where we are, obviously,” he said. “As long as we continue to receive cases, I will not be happy. I’ll be happy when we run out of cases. In the meantime, we just need to keep doing what we know works, which is promoting vaccinations, masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene. Doing those things that we know to work would go a long way in reducing cases. If we can decrease the cases, we will obviously decrease the number of deaths. …
“I thought we would see another wave. But doing the things that we know how to do and having, now, a few shots on board, I really didn’t think it would be at this point. We could anticipate a wave, but I certainly hadn’t anticipated anything like it, and I don’t know anyone else who did either.
Since the county is now orange on the state’s color-coded COVID-19 map, Fairmont State University has required students to wear masks on campus, and schools in Marion County will impose masks when classes will start this week.
White said that while it’s bad that the pandemic has worsened again, he’s happy the semester is starting with a mask requirement in place, and he believes that may have to become long-term policy.
“Maybe now is the time to re-evaluate our decision and just keep the masks on,” White said. “There was a 13-year-old girl (in Mississippi) who died who had no underlying health issues. This thing is real. She was not vaccinated. People will probably never understand some of the decisions we make and why we make them, and I would certainly respect their right to disagree with us in terms of masks and vaccinations. But if we lose a child, then wouldn’t we ask ourselves if it could not have been avoided by vaccination or wearing masks or doing the things that we know to work? “
White said he was also concerned about the size of public gatherings and gathering places, noting that he would support a move to again limit the number of people who can assemble at the sites.
“I think we should limit social gatherings,” he said. “Suppose 50% are vaccinated. If we have 100 people, then we know that 50 of them are probably not vaccinated. Let’s put that to the count of, say, 20. If 50% are not vaccinated, that means only 10 people are not vaccinated. Fifty to 10 in a collective setting will certainly reduce our risk, so I think it’s time to look at those activities and see what we can do in public health to reduce the risk.
White said that while attendance at gatherings such as concerts, weddings and other events should be reassessed, people who have already received their vaccines should not be so worried.
“If you’re fully vaccinated and wearing a mask, I really don’t think you have to worry about anything,” White said. “These dual activities simultaneously will certainly reduce the risk to the point where I would not be concerned. If everyone was vaccinated and wore masks, we wouldn’t be having this discussion about transmission. “
Payne agreed that security measures are essential.
“We want people to lead normal, healthy and productive lives,” she said. “We want them to go out and do things. We just want them to do it safely.
Ultimately, White said, there are a myriad of ways people can keep themselves and their families safe during the pandemic, and he encouraged everyone to do their part to help the cause.
“Get vaccinated,” he said. “Wear a mask. Use good cough and sneeze etiquette and good hand hygiene.… All of these things will get us where we need to be. I don’t think there is a ‘one size fits all’ approach to prevention , but I’ve said many times that this is a multi-layered approach, if we do it we’ll be fine.
Fairmont News Editor-in-Chief John Mark Shaver can be reached at 304-844-8485 or [email protected]