Health Wagon receives COVID-19 vaccine doses after wait
Drive-thru clinics occurring in Wise and Clintwood
A little more than a month after The Health Wagon’s director went on national television and said the Wise County-based free clinic system hadn’t received COVID-19 vaccine doses, it has now vaccinated 325 people in the past two weeks.
In a news release Thursday, The Health Wagon President and CEO Teresa Tyson thanked the Virginia Department of Health for providing Moderna vaccine doses, which the clinic is administering to people over age 65 and younger people with pre-existing health conditions. Currently the clinic is hosting drive-thru vaccination events and plans weekly events.
Vaccines are “first come, first serve,” according to The Health Wagon, and there is a waiting list. They advise calling (276) 328-8850 to be placed on the waiting list, and clinic employees will call when an appointment is available.
On “CBS This Morning” in early February, Tyson said she had asked the state government for doses for the clinic’s 5,600 patients in Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott and Wise counties. Many don’t have access to reliable transportation, which is why the clinic uses mobile units to get closer to patients’ workplaces and homes. Tysons also noted that her patients are demographically more likely to have co-morbidities that can place people at higher health risks from the virus. However, at the time the report aired, Gov. Ralph Northam and Dr. Danny Avula, the state’s vaccine coordinator, said the state wasn’t receiving enough doses yet to send them to everyone who wanted one.
However, over the past weeks, Virginia’s number of allocated weekly doses has almost quadrupled, nearing 400,000 a week, due to increased production of the Moderna and Pfizer Inc. vaccines and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s approval of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine in late February.
In Virginia, eight pharmacy groups and other providers have joined hospitals, CVS pharmacies and local health districts in administering shots, making them more widely available across the state.
“We are so blessed to begin receiving vaccines,” Tyson said in a statement Thursday. “Thank you, Virginia Department of Health, for helping our people. My mission is to save lives in Central Appalachia, and these vaccines could not have come at a better time.”