CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. (WDVM) — West Virginia University Medicine and local health departments announced Monday that community COVID-19 vaccine clinics in the Eastern Panhandle will be replaced by a twice-weekly “mega drive-thru” clinic. The clinic will be based in an unused parking garage at the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.
Those who are scheduled to receive a second dose after April 9 will be contacted to arrange an appointment at the new location, officials say.
Starting April 13, residents 16 and over can preregister to get a Pfizer vaccine. The clinic will be held every Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the West Parking Garage.
“We will have 5,000 doses of vaccine per clinic and plan to hold two clinics per week over the next four to six weeks to vaccinate as many community residents as possible,” Samantha Richards, WVU Medicine East vice president patient care services and chief nursing officer, said.
In a Monday media briefing hosted by Governor Jim Justice, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer from the West Virginia National Guard said, “We’re working with the local health department and many others, the health clinics, WVU Medicine. This was an effort that the governor tasked us to increase capacity in the eastern panhandle which we had concerns about.”
According to Berkeley County Health Department administrator Bill Kearns, the mega clinic is expected to accommodate up to 400 people an hour and administer 10,000 doses a week.
“We know in public health that we cannot test our way out of this pandemic,” said Kerns. “The only way to get to the end of this pandemic is to get herd immunity and that’s done thru vaccination.”
Donnie Grubb with WVU Medicine said that “with the state’s initiative of increased vaccinations in the eastern panhandle, we collectively as a region are going to tackle this.”
The clinics at the casino-racetrack start next Tuesday, April 13 and will be every Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Hollywood Casino said it is proud to partner with the community in an effort to get local residents vaccinated and it looks forward to welcoming thousands of area residents each week. It also is glad to help speed up the economic recovery.
Residents are advised to check their local health department website and social media pages to register for a vaccine. Appointments are required, and more details about the clinic, including details on the registration process, will be released later this week, health officials say.