New River Health District says next phase of vaccinations depend on supply

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 5:20 PM EDT
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NEW RIVER VALLEY, Va. (WDBJ) - The New River Valley Health District is hoping in the next few weeks to start vaccinating college students in the next few week, but health leaders say it depends on how much supply they’re able to get.

“We’re trying to balance that, and we certainly want to make sure that someone who’s at very high risk of COVID gets vaccinated and, and we don’t put them behind someone who’s at much lower risk,” said Noelle Bissell, M.D., the director of the New River Health District.

Dr. Bissell says the issue is the district still is not in a situation where the supply is matching the demand at this time.

“Obviously, the first ones that people talk about are the graduating seniors who will be going out and who may be out celebrating and having events, and then going elsewhere, but then we also look at our college students who are from other areas and once they leave the area they will be going back to those areas. It’s a difficult decision,” said Dr. Bissell during her weekly COVID-19 update.

She says it is about balance.

“We have to get an idea of the number of college students that we’re talking about, and the vaccine that is coming into the district,” said Bissell.

With two large colleges like Virginia Tech and Radford University in the district, she says they may have to look at larger scale clinics.

“So you know we’re looking at doing that and we would love to be able to offer, you know, all of the students, and certainly our graduating seniors, but again, we’re still having to watch the supply,” said Bissell.

For now, the district can do over 3,000 vaccinations a day — but with the hope of new vaccines on the horizon the district believes that number may change.

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