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About 400 Turn Out To Get Vaccinated at Regional Clinic in Moundsville

New Martinsville resident Williard Wilson receives the first round of his COVID-19 vaccination during a multi-county clinic Friday at the Marshall County Fairgrounds. Photo by Scott McCloskey

MOUNDSVILLE — Hundreds of residents from four counties made their way Friday to the Marshall County Fairgrounds for their dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. As they received those shots, area health and safety officials expressed a desire to return to individual county clinics. They want the travel times for those residents to get a lot shorter.

Four hundred people ages 65 and older from Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel and Tyler counties were able to get their first dose of the Moderna vaccine at Friday’s appointment-only clinic at the fairgrounds’ Chevron Building. Marshall County Threat Preparedness Director Mark Ackermann said while Friday’s clinic was “working as well as this regional model can,” officials from his health department are “absolute proponents” for returning clinics back to the county model to avoid long drive times for area residents.

“I just talked to one gentleman here from Tyler County that had to drive over an hour to come today,” Ackermann said. “He wanted to thank us, but he said, ‘I just wanted to let you know how long I had to drive.'”

“We would rather have each county be able to handle their own groups so those folks don’t have to drive as far,” he added.

Ackermann said, like any larger event, they experienced “a few small glitches” in the beginning of Friday’s clinic, but once things got well underway the event ran very smoothly.

“It has been absolutely wonderful, we have so many volunteers here today,” he said.“We can’t thank those folks enough. We could not put this on if it wasn’t for the volunteers.”

Ackermann estimated several dozen volunteers from all four counties turned out for the event.

Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department Administrator Howard P. Gamble, who helped with duties at Friday’s clinic, echoed Ackermann’s sentiments about going back to individual county clinics because of the travel involved.

“We’ve met a lot of people from Tyler, and some of them were on the road an hour and a half, Gamble explained. “Even going out of West Liberty (to Marshall County) that’s a haul.”

Gamble said while the multi-county option does work, the option of keeping residents — especially those 65 and older — traveling shorter distances “makes a whole lot more sense.”

Several area residents attending Friday’s clinic said they were so happy to finally receive the vaccine.

Wheeling resident Ron Mauck said he was delighted when he was finally able to get an appointment after trying on several previous occasions to schedule one.

“It’s a blessing for all of us,” Mauck said as he exited the clinic. “It’s a blessing for all of America and it’s a blessing for the whole world.”

New Martinsville resident Williard Wilson said he was extremely happy to get his first vaccine. Wilson’s granddaughter was with him at the clinic and said that, other than leaving his home for a doctor’s appointment, Wilson has been quarantined since the onset of the pandemic.

The multi-county clinic was just one of many scheduled around the state this week as part of the state of West Virginia’s “Operation: Save Our Wisdom” program which is a renewed focus on providing COVID-19 vaccines to West Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens.

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