Wood County vaccination clinic serves hundreds
Some residents unable to call in for appointments
PARKERSBURG — Hundreds of Wood County residents received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday, and more are eager to get their turn.
Five hundred people age 70 and older made appointments for Thursday’s clinic at the Elite Sports Center in south Parkersburg and most of them were kept, said Carrie Brainard, threat preparedness coordinator for the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department.
A few could not be inoculated because they had received other vaccinations within the last two weeks.
A number of people were unable to get appointments at all when the lines opened at noon on Wednesday.
“I had nothing but busy signals,” said Parkersburg resident Bonnie Leonhart, who said she called every two minutes from noon to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.
After leaving the house for a while and coming back, she said, she tried a few more times, tallying more than 80 unsuccessful calls.
Leonhart, who is 81, said her daughters and doctor have encour
aged her to get the vaccine. Although she said she’s active and in good health, she does have some underlying health conditions and realizes older individuals can be at greater risk of complications and death as a result of the virus.
“Nobody wants to die,” she said. In addition, “I’d like to be able to see people again. I’m a social person.”
Leonhart wasn’t alone in her frustration Wednesday, as multiple people posted on social media, including on the Health Department’s Facebook page, about their efforts to call in for appointments.
Brainard said there were eight people manning the phones Wednesday afternoon.
“We are trying to work on increasing that capacity,” she said. “We just need people to be patient and keep trying.”
Across the Ohio River, the Washington County Health Department is utilizing an online registration mechanism, while the Marietta/Belpre City Health Department plans to activate a call center.
Brainard said the Mid-Ohio Valley department, which covers six West Virginia counties, is exploring various options but found a call center was too expensive.
Another vaccination clinic is expected next week, likely to be staged at West Virginia University at Parkersburg, Brainard said. Details about appointments will be announced next week, probably by Tuesday.
Evan Bevins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.