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Mid-Ohio Valley schools developing vaccine clinics

PARKERSBURG — Some area school districts are working with local health departments to help students get the COVID-19 vaccination.

After the Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced people in the 12-15 age range can receive the vaccine last week, some counties are offering special clinics for people in this age group.

WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center is offering a clinic for 12- to 17-year-olds from 3-7 p.m. Wednesday in Suite 326 of its Medical Office Building B at 705 Garfield Ave. in Parkersburg.

The clinic is open only to those born between May 19, 2003, and May 19, 2009. Proof of the child’s age must be brought to the clinic. Appointments can be made by calling 304-420-1449. Walk-ins will be welcome as long as there is vaccine available, according to an announcement from the hospital.

The second doses will be administered on June 9.

Wood County Schools is still working out the date and location of the vaccine shots, but communications coordinator Michael Erb said that shots will take place at some point during the week. Erb also said that the vaccine will be given out by Bond’s Pharmacy and that over 300 parents have requested their children to receive the vaccine when available.

In partnership with the Jackson County Health Department, Jackson County Schools set up a vaccination clinic on Saturday for students who have registered for the shot.

Superintendent Blaine Hess said over 350 people are signed up to receive their first dose at the armory this Saturday.

“It’s for students 12 and older and there will be families of students, it’s open beyond students,” Hess said.

The school system conducted a survey of students to see if people were interested.

“We did the survey about three weeks ago. We did a phone call to families and asked them to visit one of our school sites to register,” Hess said.

The schools worked closely with the health department to get the teachers and faculty vaccinated and Hess said the school system reached out to the health department to help students get their shots.

“We’ve been very fortunate to partner with the health department to be able to schedule so they don’t have to miss class. The more the vaccine gets distributed, the less issues we have with quarantines,” Hess said. “We’re really pleased that more families are going to take advantage of that opportunity.”

The Jackson County vaccine clinic will be Saturday from 9 a.m.-noon at the armory in Millwood. Registrations are open for the clinic until 4 p.m. Wednesdays. To register, call the Jackson County Health Department at 304-372-2634.

Ritchie County Regional Health Center works with Ritchie and Pleasants counties to help administer vaccines and Ritchie County superintendent Jim Brown said vaccines for the students ages 12 and older will take place this week.

People called the board of education office to register; Brown said 14 students in the 12-15 age range registered and 11 students in the 16 and older group got the vaccine.

“We haven’t had a lot of participation (but) that doesn’t mean folks aren’t doing it outside the school system,” Brown said.

In Pleasants County, 44 students from the middle school and high school are signed up to receive their shots Thursday, according to superintendent Michael Wells.

Through the pandemic Roane General Hospital has had staff members inside Roane County schools on a regular basis and hospital staff members will continue to vaccinate students.

“Because they’re on site, they can work out when is the best time for the students,” superintendent Richard Duncan said.

A survey conducted showed about half of the students are interested in getting the shot. Duncan said the school system is concerned about timing because school will be out for the summer by the time students need their second dose.

“We will set up a clinic or Roane General will set up a clinic. It won’t be at the school (but we’re) hopeful that folks will follow up,” he said.

When students get their first dose, Duncan said they will be able to ago ahead and schedule the second shot.

“If you need to go to a local pharmacy, you can do it that way. There’s a couple of different options for folks to take if they don’t get it through us,” Duncan said. “We (just) want to make sure it’s available through us.”

In Doddridge County, superintendent Adam Cheeseman said the school system is leaving it up to the parents as to whether or not they want to vaccinate their children.

“We’ve decided that it’s a parent’s decision. The school system is not participating in that. We have eight days left of instruction. We’ve relied on the health department, they’re the medical experts and we’ll just let them take care of it,” Cheeseman said.

Tyler County Schools will provide transportation this week to the regular free public clinic put on by the Wetzel-Tyler Health Department.

“We are busing the students that have been given permission to … the United Methodist Church” in New Martinsville, Superintendent Shane Highley said.

As of Monday, about 60 students had signed up.

In Calhoun County, superintendent Kelli Whytsell said students are becoming more interested in getting the vaccine because of the recent jump in positive cases in the county.

“Some of our kids have had one shot and we have signups for the 12-15 age group. It really seems to have more students interested now than they were before,” she said. “We really had not had a significant problem in the county with COVID until this point. It was easier to think ‘I don’t need to do this’ or ‘it’s not here.’ This has kind of opened some eyes for some people that yes, it is (here) and everybody needs to do their part to stop this.”

Staff reporters Evan Bevins and Tyler Bennett also contributed to the story.

Candice Black can be reached at cblack@newsandsentinel.com.

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