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Vaccinations continue as residents hope to register

Photo by Evan Bevins Coplin Health Systems LPN Shavonna Jones, left, administers a COVID-19 vaccination dose to Parkersburg resident Nancy Haislep on Thursday during a clinic at West Virginia University at Parkersburg’s Center for Early Learning.

PARKERSBURG – Hundreds more people received their initial COVID-19 vaccine doses Thursday in Wood County.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department’s clinic at the Center for Early Learning at West Virginia University at Parkersburg served 530 people ages 65 and older, said Carrie Brainard, threat preparedness coordinator for the department.

As of Thursday afternoon there were approximately 6,000 names on the stand-by list, which people can register for online at http://bit.ly/movhdcovid or by calling the 211 information line.

There were originally 500 slots planned at the clinic, but Brainard said they were able to call in additional folks from the stand-by list.

“We had a few extra doses because sometimes you can pull 11 from a vial instead of 10,” she said.

In addition, about 40 WVU-P health care students, whose work puts them at a higher risk, were vaccinated at the request of the state, Brainard said.

Among the 65-and-older vaccine recipients Thursday were cousins Nancy Haislep and Deby Showalter, both of Parkersburg.

“I want to be protected so I can go out of my house,” said Showalter, adding she’s had multiple family members diagnosed with COVID-19.

Showalter and Haislep entered the Center for Early Learning and provided their identification to people at the front desk. They were then taken to one of the tables spaced throughout the building and, after answering some questions about their health and whether they had ever tested positive for the virus, each received a shot.

“Oh, I didn’t feel that,” Haislep said after the injection was administered in her upper arm by Coplin Health Services LPN Shavonna Jones.

She and her cousin were then escorted to a waiting area to sit for 15 minutes to monitor for any side effects.

Gov. Jim Justice announced Thursday that the state is launching an online system Monday for state residents age 65 and older to register for vaccinations at vaccinate.wv.gov. Those without reliable Internet access will be able to register via phone at 1-888-734-0965.

Brainard said people already on the local stand-by list will be added to the state database in the date- and time-stamped order in which they originally registered.

“People don’t have to re-register. They’re already on the list, and they will stay on that list,” she said.

That includes people who did not answer when the Health Department called Wednesday or Thursday to schedule an appointment, Brainard said.

The next local vaccination clinic has not been announced, but Brainard expects it to happen next week.

Parkersburg resident Paul Hildebrand said he’s been unable to register himself or his wife for a vaccination locally. He said he had not attempted the online option, although he does have Internet access, because it isn’t easy for him to use.

“It’s difficult for me, and I know it’s even more difficult for other people,” Hildebrand said.

He said he could not get through on the 211 line either. It’s operated by the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley, whose executive director, Stacy DeCicco, said they received more than 500 calls both Wednesday and Thursday.

“We have pulled all staff from all duties, and they have done nothing for two days but field calls,” DeCicco said. “So it is extremely likely that callers are not getting answered.”

DeCicco said unanswered calls are directed to the online portal. Callers are asked not to leave voicemails because they are unable to return them.

Hildebrand said he ended up contacting a health department in another county and got on their list. The state is not limiting the residency of people signing up for vaccination clinics, as long as they are West Virginia residents.

Parkersburg resident Susan Sharp said she and her husband took a neighbor over 80 to the Jan. 15 vaccine clinic at the West Virginia Army National Guard Armory and Readiness Center in Williamstown.

“The execution of it was really flawless,” she said. “It’s just getting signed up” that’s a challenge.

Unable to get an appointment by phone when the vaccinations opened to those 70 and older last week, Sharp said she signed herself and her husband up for the stand-by list Tuesday. As of Wednesday afternoon, they were still waiting on a call for an appointment.

“I know that they’re doing the best they can,” she said of the Health Department.

Evan Bevins can be reached at

ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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