The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were delivered to Hardy County last week and are in the process of being distributed in accordance with the Governor’s and the Department of Health and Human Resources’ recommendations.
“I can’t tell you how happy we are to be at this point,” said Health Department Administrator Bill Ours. “Our staff has worked tirelessly through this ordeal and we are happy to finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.”
The E. A. Hawse Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Baker received a shipment of the vaccine on Tuesday, Dec. 15.
According to Bandon Totten, Community Relations Manager, AMFM, requested vaccine for its more than 2,000 employees and 1,200 patients statewide. AMFM is the parent company of E. A. Hawse N&RC.
The vaccine will be distributed by the center’s in-house pharmacists.
“This is a momentous day for our patients and employees and provides hope for ending the COVID-19 pandemic,” said John Elliot, owner of AMFM N&RC. “Being a part of history and among the first in the US and West Virginia to receive the vaccine is remarkable. I am so thankful, but make no mistake, we will not let our guard down and will continue to wear face masks, social distance and follow the CDC guidelines closely. We are doing this for our patients, each other and our communities.”
AMFM operates 19 skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers throughout West Virginia.
Valley Health System also received its first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday. Officials there proceeded to distribute it and began administering the vaccine. Doses were transported to hospitals in Front Royal, Woodstock, and Luray.
Valley Health’s two West Virginia hospitals received and began vaccinating workers on Thursday.
“This is an incredibly exciting and momentous day for our caregivers and for our community,” said Iyad Sabbagh, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Valley Health. “Since March, our healthcare workers have been challenged in ways we could not have even imagined a year ago. This vaccine has been the light at the end of the tunnel ever since.”
According to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Phase I of the vaccination program will include workers in hospitals, long-term care facilities and pharmacies. This includes staff and nursing home/assisted living residents.
Next will be people in community infrastructure, emergency response, public health officials and first responders. This includes police, firefighters, 911 Center employees, corrections staff and local health department staff.
Other health care workers will follow.
Teachers and people who work in education along with those considered critical services for continuity of government, utilities and transportation are also part of the Phase I distribution.
It is estimated that these individuals will receive the vaccine between December and February 2021.
The vaccine will be distributed to the general public beginning in February and March 2021, with special emphasis given to those over the age of 65 with underlying health conditions.