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Despite weather, vaccine clinics draw crowd

SoVaNow.com / February 15, 2021
Piedmont Access to Health Services, Inc. (PATHS) held two vaccination clinics on Saturday, one in Halifax at the Mary Bethune Complex and the other at the PATHS medical offices in Boydton. Treacherous road conditions and power outages created by the icy weather did not stop the vaccination clinics from happening, nor deter hundreds of people from showing up for their shots.

“When I got here, the lights blinked and we were wondering if we could keep it going,” said Shani Gaylord, director of community programs for PATHS.

Extensive safety precautions were in place and the vaccine doses were stored in coolers and thawed out as needed. Upon entering the gymnasium at the Mary Bethune Complex, patients of the community health clinic had their temperatures checked and they were checked-in for their time slots. Everyone had an appointment time to accommodate social distance measures. Seating assignments were designated by blue tape that made clear how far apart is six feet.

PATHS medical staff was on hand to inoculate patients and monitor for any adverse reactions. Volunteers helped patients find their seats, keep the line moving, and sanitize the space for the next person.

As they waited to leave the clinic, Sallie Anne and Carrington Powell both agreed “the process was smooth,” in the words of Carrington. “They are very organized,” added Sallie Anne.

The two vaccination clinics this Saturday follow two previous PATHS vaccine clinics in Chatham and Danville. The clinics are for PATHS patients, frontline workers, and emergency medical service personnel.

“We are excited it worked today, it took dedication and team work,” said Gaylord of the strong turnout for the event, despite the weather.

A total of 300 first-dose vaccines were administered to PATHS patients in Boydton and about 307 patients received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in South Boston. Anyone who has been a patient of PATHS within the past three years is eligible for the vaccine. Also eligible to take part in PATHS vaccine clinics are persons in the Phase 1b priority group: essential workers, people ages 65 and up, people living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters and migrant labor camps, and those ages 16-64 with a high risk medical condition or disability that increases their risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

In Boydton, “even though we lost power early on during the vaccine clinic, our generator kicked in and all refrigerators and freezers along with a few lights and computers were still up and running. The Boydton staff moved to spaces that had lights or windows and continued to provide the vaccines,” said Marsha Mendenhall, PATHS CEO.

“The fire department brought a portable light to illuminate a rest room for us and skylights in our lobby provided ample light in that area. The staff and volunteers were wonderful and dedicated to finish with providing the COVID-19 vaccines,” said Mendenhall.

According to data from the Virginia Department of Health through Sunday, 3,801 vaccine doses have been administered in Halifax County, and 843 people have been fully inoculated with two shots of the vaccines, made by Moderna and Pfizer.

For upcoming vaccination clinics, patients are asked to email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The next clinics will be planned as vaccines are provided to PATHS locations.

PATHS is a local system of non-profit, federally qualified health centers in Henry, Pittsylvania, Halifax and Mecklenburg counties, serving all members of the community with quality medical, dental, behavioral health, and pharmacy services.



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