Mercer County Health Department discusses plans for COVID-19 vaccine distribution

MERCER COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – “Good news, the vaccine is here. I’m considering this to be our ‘D Day.'”

In comparing the fight against COVID-19 to the Allied powers fighting against the Axis powers in World War 2, the Mercer County Health Department made its stance clear. Now that there is access to the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but it will only come through continued precaution.

“Safety is the number one priority,” said Mercer County Health Official Dr. Richard Stephen Stefancic. “Getting ahead of this is also a number one priority. If we can have both of those together, it can only strengthen the fact that we’re trying to get ahead of COVID-19.”

The Health Department will be administering the vaccine in four stages. Phase 1A includes immediate healthcare and medical personnel and professionals. Phase 1B includes individuals associated with community infrastructure, emergency response personnel, public health officials and first responders. The Health Department is transitioning between the first two phases.

“Right now, we are working between phase 1A and 1B in Mercer County,” Stefancic said. “As more vaccine becomes available, we will be able to progress down that list. Group 1C includes, generally speaking, other healthcare individuals. Which could include, the non-front line hospital staff, however, still working in hospitals. In-home health workers as well.”

The initial vaccines will be given in two doses, approximately three weeks apart. Depending on the location of your vaccination, there are multiple options for keeping track of your status and when it’s time for the second dose.

“Through the VAM system, where you register to get the vaccine, you will get an email saying ‘this is when you need to come back,'” Stefancic said. “And it would have that information. Some locations may choose to do cards. Some people are very kinetic and keep a card.

“But there are a couple of different avenues as far as that is concerned. Cards are out there and the electronic notification is available.”