KINGWOOD, W.Va. – The Preston County Health Department continued its vaccination efforts on Thursday, Feb. 4, as it targeted people 65 and older.
V.J. Davis, the health department administrator, said the county received 220 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. He said the target for Thursday’s clinic was 250-260 first doses because Pfizer vaccines can have an extra dose pulled out with a special syringe. Overall, Davis said the inoculation process has been going well.
“We’re learning as we go,” Davis said. “We think we’ve figured out we can probably do a few more per hour than what we’ve done in the last couple of clinics. This is our first bigger clinic that we’ve done solely in Preston Co. by ourselves. We’ll be doing these weekly now. Next week we’re scheduled to get 300 doses, so we’re going to have a little bit bigger clinic then.”
People will return in three weeks for their second doses. With that in mind and the need to give first and second doses to the public, Davis said the county would be having multiple clinics per week.
The administrator said he is looking forward to expanding and building partnerships in the county to increase the health department’s ability to vaccinate even more people. Right now, he said, there is a lot of interest, but there’s still a lot of outreach needed.
“(I’m) very encouraged with the general interest from the public, especially the 65 and older group,” he said. “We’re finding they really want the vaccine. We feel we still probably have a little more work to do with the younger population, to convince them to get the vaccine. But the 65 and the older group has really been responsive. When we call people, they’re immediately willing to come.”
Getting younger people interested in the vaccination process is just one of the hurdles Preston Co. has to overcome. Davis said there’s also the issue of vaccine supply.
He said distribution has been “very slow” in the county like it has been around the state and country.
“But we’re really hoping now that we’re getting into this, that the vaccine supply will start coming more regularly and that the federal government will release more vaccine to West Virginia,” Davis said. “West Virginia is doing a great job of getting out the vaccine. We’re administering it very quickly after we get it. We just simply need more of it.”