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Slow but steady distribution in Southwest Virginia expected for COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Dec. 30, 2020 at 12:44 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Communities within the Roanoke and Alleghany Health districts have received shipments of the Moderna vaccine, but the actual distribution process is the current hiccup.

According to Dr. Cynthia Morrow with the Virginia Department of Health, it’s a process that will consume the next several months.

While the focus of a weekly conference call update from the Virginia Department of Health has in past weeks been on case numbers and outbreaks, Tuesday’s focus was on the COVID-19 vaccine, and how it is being rolled out.

“Is the vaccine a very hopeful, powerful tool, absolutely, but it’s going to take months to get everyone vaccinated who wants to get vaccinated, and in the meantime, this virus is going to continue to plague our communities,” said Morrow.

Since December 22, the Roanoke and Alleghany Health Districts have seen 874 new cases, a significant decrease from the week before. But that does not change any of the continued recommendations.

“I think that that is what is challenging. We know what we need to do, we need not to go to large gatherings on New Year’s Eve,” said Morrow.

The hope is that change will come with the vaccine, but right now only high-risk health care workers in the Roanoke and Alleghany are receiving it.

Until distribution expands to more groups of people, Dr. Morrow stressed that as we head into a new year, the pandemic is not over.

“The behavior is what is driving the pandemic. We have a nasty virus that if given the option will spread.”

Other points Dr. Morrow touched on included outbreaks, which she reported are down. This week the RCAHD is reporting 20. Of those 20, the majority of them are in long-term care facilities.

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