CSHD says they are working to make sure those disproportionately affected have equal access to vaccine

Published: Jan. 29, 2021 at 6:29 PM EST
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) - “I raise a great-granddaughter. I want to be able, if it is God’s will, to raise this [great] granddaughter and not die from this pandemic,” Linda Darcus said.

Darcus lives in Staunton, which is within the Central Shenandoah Health District (CSHD) of the Virginia Department of Health. She is awaiting the call to get her COVID-19 vaccine after she and her family have submitted multiple applications and made numerous calls over the past few weeks.

“When I talked to the woman at the health department the other day, she said, ‘We are waiting on vaccines and it might not be until maybe the end of May until you get a shot.’ I am 76, will be 77 by the time you tell me these shots will be in, and why is it with my illnesses I wasn’t put in there? She couldn’t answer that,” Darcus said.

It has been reported that minority communities have suffered disproportionately from the coronavirus and have a greater chance of severe infection.

“We’ve been able to break down the data over the course of the pandemic that has told an important story about ethnicity, race, and disparities within our communities,” Dr. Laura Kornegay with CSHD explained in a press conference on Thursday. “With the vaccine efforts, we just need to again, what we always do in public health, is look at it through an equity lens.”

“That was the first thing that came out when this pandemic started. People of Black Hispanic and Asian need to get these shots due to the fact that they are more vulnerable to the disease, they die quicker from it,” Darcus explained.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the following factors have increased the risk for certain racial and ethnic minority groups getting sick or dying from COVID-19: discrimination, healthcare access, occupation, education, income, wealth gaps and housing.

“During the pandemic, we saw some of the inequities of the COVID-19 infection, higher toll on Hispanic populations, higher toll on African American populations,” Dr. Kornegay said.

Dr. Kornegay says we must be cautious about how the vaccine is distributed.

“Just as we are with the older population, making sure that the people who have had the most negative consequences also have equal access to vaccines.”

You can more information on the Central Shenandoah Health District’s vaccine distribution by clicking here. To find information on other districts within VDH, click here.

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