Health professionals continue to administer first and second COVID vaccine doses, along with booster vaccines

Nurse draws COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccine event. (WHSV File)
Nurse draws COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccine event. (WHSV File)(WHSV)
Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 5:14 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - As COVID-19 boosters become readily available to those who need them, health professionals are still trying to administer first and second doses to unvaccinated community members.

About 60% of the Central Shenandoah Health District is fully vaccinated, leaving the community still short of herd immunity, professionals say. Isaac Izzillo, Augusta Health’s Director of COVID Vaccines and Education, says they’re pushing to administer all doses.

“We still have some work to do for individuals who are unvaccinated in our community. We continue to see that in our hospital,” said Izzillo. “The majority of individuals are unvaccinated, so with all this publicity and information coming out regards to third dose vaccinations, which are important, don’t get that confused, but it’s very important to continue vaccinating the unvaccinated individuals in our community.”

He says people can come to Augusta Health’s clinic for vaccines, or they can go to one of their community clinics. There’s also information available on their website.

“We’ve provided more access into our clinics with differentiated times. We’re doing them at least five days a week. We’ve also prioritized locations to go out into the community to provide third dose vaccines, and we’ll always offer first and second doses, such as nursing home facilities, skilled facilities, and risk-locations such as homeless shelters and such,” Izzillo said.

Central Shenandoah Health District (CHSD) Communications Specialist Jordi Shelton says they’re still working to increase the number of people who are vaccinated.

“We really are continuing to focus much of our efforts on increasing accessibility to these first doses for folks who still remain unvaccinated. We’re working to address vaccine hesitancy throughout our community,” Shelton said.

On top of that, they’re planning to expand vaccine opportunities.

“We’re also really expanding our clinics, so we have the JMU Convocation clinic on Thursdays, but we’re also going to extend to the Rockingham County fairgrounds on Wednesdays,” Shelton said.

At those clinics, they’ll offer all three Pfizer doses and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

She says when Moderna boosters are approved, they’ll be ready for the rollout.

“Once Moderna gets a green light for boosters, we’re going to scale up our clinic to meet that need because we’re anticipating right now a little bit of a demand for Moderna boosters because that was a lot of what we administered at the beginning of the pandemic,” Shelton said. “We’re totally capable of scaling up our clinics. We have the capacity staffing wise, and we have the capacity in terms of the vaccines we have to distribute.”

Izzillo says he has talked with the CSHD about hosting another event like “Vax the Valley.”

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