Multiple health organizations combine to distribute 500 COVID-19 vaccines

RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Multiple hospitals, drug stores and even the Health Department combined to host a distribution of 500 COVID-19 vaccines Thursday in Raleigh County.

The vaccination age range continues to expand, as those ages 65 and over were eligible for an appointment on Thursday.

“Our goal is obviously to try to get as many people vaccinated as possible in the 65 and older group,” said Eppy’s Drug Store Pharmacist Keith Foster. “The state has given us 500 vaccines and we’re planning on giving them all out today.”

Even though this was a one day event, health officials have been preparing all week, in part due to the increasing amount of vaccines being distributed at Thursday’s event.

“We’ve had our call center and receptionist the last few days be calling patients, taking phone calls and getting them scheduled for this vaccine today,” said RN Bailee Russel. “Explaining to them what time to come, where to go. They’re also scheduling them for their second shot that they’ll be getting in four weeks.”

Eppy’s Drug Store has been distributing vaccines for close to six weeks. After beginning with more individualized administrations, Foster says that he expects more mass distribution events, such as the one today at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center, going forward.

“The state is moving more and more towards these mass vaccinations rather than just individual patients coming in to your pharmacy,” Foster said. “It’s been working very well. It’s been very, very smooth. The coordination has been well thought out.”

The ability to distribute 500 vaccines in one day has health officials optimistic that, with the state’s assistance, the percentage of the general population that can get vaccinated will continue to increase.

“People are definitely grateful,” Russel said. “[We’re] trying to get all of those vaccines out there.

“A lot of people that are less than 65 want it. Hopefully we’re going to be getting to that soon as well.”