Weekend vaccination clinics in Roanoke successful, slow delivery due to number of vaccines continues

Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 8:12 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The expectation was for 6,000 vaccines to be distributed between three all-day clinics this past Friday through Sunday.

But the final total was just over 6,700 vaccines. The extras were due to getting more doses out of the vials, and Carilion being able to provide more doses than planned. Hannah Curtis Cline, with Carilion, provided the following statement:

“As Dr. Morrow mentioned, the success of Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s vaccination events was a testament to community collaboration. While our region still has far to go, these events serve as a pilot for future vaccination opportunities as allocated resources become available. There are also lessons learned that will help to shape future events.

“Between gaining extra doses from most vials (VDH plans clinics based on 5 doses per vial; however, the FDA and Pfizer allows up to 6 doses per vial) and Carilion providing more doses than we originally thought we could, we had to work real-time to ensure no dose was wasted. We worked closely with VDH and to contact eligible 1b individuals who could get to Berglund and use the available doses. For this pilot event, Carilion created a waiting list based on the registration links sent last week. The plan going forward is to use VDH’s contact list for future updates and opportunities. Carilion will not maintain a waiting list any longer. If folks want future updates about vaccination opportunities, we encourage them to use their health district’s surveys to get onto the district’s distribution lists.”

Saturday and Sunday, the goal was to vaccinate community members over the age of 65. According to Dr. Morrow, that’s who received shots, but there is an ongoing concern about diversity at these mass events.

“As a public health professional, it was concerning; we are very mindful of both the barrier and understandable distrust among different segments of the population we serve. We are working with the city of Roanoke, our community partners to try to identify strategies to ensure that all of our residents have access to vaccine,” said Dr. Morrow.

“All” is the key word, as about half of Virginia’s population is now allowed to get the shot with the guidelines VDH is following.

“So for us, in a district that is about 277,000 people, that’s over 100,000 people who are eligible to get vaccinated and we are only receiving about 3,000 doses per week,” said Dr. Morrow.

3,000 doses is more than what the RCHAD was receiving at the beginning of this month, thanks to a new per capita allocation, but it will still take months to get though phase 1b. Patience is again urged, as is following the same health guidelines that have been in effect for almost an entire year.

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