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Residents ask where’s the vaccine

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

In Charlotte, 791 residents, or 6.6% of the population, had been vaccinated as of Monday, Feb. 1. Approximately 104 Charlotte citizens have received both doses of their COVID-19 shot.

Charlotte County Administrator Dan Witt participated in a COVID-19 related conference call with the Virginia Department (VDH) Health last week where he said the discussion focused more on statewide issues.

“Statewide there is a frustration with a lack of vaccine and while the federal government has promised a 16% increase to the states, it’s still not enough,” Witt said. “Within our region the VDH is working with local pharmacies and doctors to certify them to give the vaccine, but the supply is still limited, and the training will take time.”

Saxe resident Kaye Lucado said the lack of vaccines for small counties is of great concern to her.

“I called six places Monday looking for the vaccine,” Lucado said. “Every place said that they did not know when they would get it or how much they would receive.”

Lucado said she feels the commonwealth was not prepared to start administering the vaccine.

“Our governor did not make plans early enough,” Lucado said. “I do not think we can blame anyone locally. The ones in charge of giving out the vaccine to the localities are not doing a very good job. Hopefully we will soon see more vaccine available and the Piedmont Health District and state government will do a better job of letting people know where they can receive a 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.

According to the VDH COVID-19 dashboard, the commonwealth experienced dramatic lows in COVID-19 cases this week not seen since the beginning of December.

Sunday, Jan. 31, the commonwealth reported 2,558 new daily cases of the virus. Monday, Feb. 1, numbers were similar at 2,861 daily cases. That’s down dramatically from last Monday’s 1,720 cases.

However, a trend analysis from the Piedmont Health District lists Charlotte County as with a long-term upward trend with high positivity rate.

The trend analysis also shows regional hospitals at 88% capacity with 36% of ventilator capacity in use.