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Navigating how to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine in W.Va.

Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 9:07 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON W.Va. (WSAZ) - Wednesday marks one year since the first COVID-19 case was reported in West Virginia. As more vaccines are being administered, there are still thousands of older West Virginians who fall in the priority age group who were supposed to be among the first to get a shot. But they have yet to even receive a call about an appointment.

Lester Scott, who has a heart condition, has been waiting for months to get the call to schedule his shot of hope.

“We feel like we’ve been waiting forever in the African-American community,” Scott said. “There’s a lot of us out here with an illness that needs that shot.”

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) reported during a Gov. Jim Justice news briefing that many in the priority age group still have not received a call for an appointment.

“We have just over 7,000 individuals age 80 and over in the system. I believe at one time that was down to 4,000 individuals,” said DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch. “We have about 23,000 individuals age 70 and over and 18,000 individuals who are between the ages of 65 to 69. We’re working with those lists to get individuals into clinics as soon as possible.”

The DHHR can’t say why people who were in the first priority groups haven’t been called. The backlog comes as the governor expanded eligibility for vaccine registration earlier in the week.

“We’ve had questions about the request for individuals who’ve been in the system for more than three weeks and encourage them to call the COVID call center,” Crouch said. “We are pushing those lists out to counties who are doing the scheduling to contact them. We have directed counties to contact those who have been on a list for more than three weeks.”

All West Virginians age 16 and above can preregister to get their COVID-19 vaccine through their system as of Monday. If you’re having trouble, you can call 1-833-734-0965.

Another option available is following what Scott did; he scheduled a vaccine through an independent pharmacy.

“You hear all these names hollering about how they’re going to help give out shots, but Fruth Pharmacy they’re here. That’s a relief for a lot of people,” Scott said.

If you’re eligible for the vaccine and want to make an appointment with an independent pharmacy in West Virginia like Fruth, you can call your local pharmacy.

For information about Walgreens, click here.

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