Lack of vaccine frustrates residents

Published 5:22 pm Wednesday, February 10, 2021

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Lunenburg County, like most of Virginia, has struggled to quickly administer the COVID-19 vaccine amid a vaccine shortage.

In Lunenburg, 916 residents, or 7.5% of the population, had been vaccinated as of Monday, Feb. 8. Approximately 104 citizens have received both doses of their COVID-19 shot.

Statewide there is a frustration with a lack of vaccine, and while the federal government has promised a 16% increase to the state’s local health districts. Piedmont Health, which serves Lunenburg, has a waiting list for citizens seeking the vaccine.

County resident Trudy Berry said she is still waiting on a call from the local health department.

“The Lunenburg Health Department took my name and number maybe two weeks ago, but I haven’t received a call that they’ve got the vaccine for my age group,” Berry said. “I don’t think the numbers of doses received and given in Virginia are as rosy as the reports I’ve seen or heard.

Berry said that the same day she called the health department, her local medical clinic didn’t have the vaccine and didn’t know when they would get it.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, the Piedmont Health District has received 14,800 doses of the vaccine as of Monday, Feb. 8

Lunenburg resident Oliver Wright was lucky to have to receive his vaccination in January and will receive his second dose next week.

Wright said he received his vaccination in South Hill.

“The hospital called me on Sunday before and offered me an appointment to get the first shot because I will be 75 this year,” Wright said. “I have another close friend who got the same call a week later because she is over 65, and she got her first shot.”

Wright said his friend was warned that the vaccine might not be available for the second shot.

The Piedmont Health District activated its COVID-19 vaccination clinics for residents in the Phase 1b priority groups Jan. 19. It could take several months to vaccinate those who are eligible.

Those eligible for vaccination under Phase 1b include first responders, those living and working in correctional facilities, homeless shelters and migrant labor camps, childcare/K-12 teachers and staff, food and agriculture workers, manufacturers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, mail carriers (USPS and private), anyone age 65 or over and anyone between the ages of 16 and 64 with an underlying medical condition.

Health care workers who were included in Phase 1a may also still receive the vaccine.

Eligible individuals who wish to receive the vaccine or have questions should contact their employer.

Anyone not affiliated with an employer that is submitting requests for vaccination to the health department but are eligible and wish to participate, should contact the local health department.

COVID-19 cases in Virginia are experiencing a noticeable downward trend, with local counties seeing an official decline in coronavirus cases.

A trend analysis from the Piedmont Health District lists Lunenburg in a downward trend. The county saw 17 new cases last week compared to 22 the week before.