Blue Ridge Health District begins to vaccinate EMS workers

Blue Ridge Health District begins to vaccinate EMS workers

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Blue Ridge Health District (BRHD) is expanding its coronavirus vaccination process to more frontline workers.

on the first Monday of 2021.

“We’re entering that point where we’re expanding it to Phase 1A community health workers,” BRHD Director of Policy and Planning Ryan McKay said.

EMS providers, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, some firefighters, and others were able to receive the Moderna vaccine at the health department Monday, January 4.

“We are excited about what this week brings: Being able to provide the vaccine to our community, to those who are putting their lives at risk by going out and doing what they’ve been doing for a long time,” McKay said.

McKay says this vaccination process is tedious and will take time.

“What we have noticed is that we’ve been able to vaccinate in our health department anywhere from 60 to 80 people. That all depends on the appointments that they set up,” McKay said. “It’s a lower number than we’d like. What we’re doing now is really focusing on how we can ramp that up.”

The director says BRHD is feeling a mix of emotions as it tries to balance administering a vaccine and managing a surge in COVID-19.

“I think we’re also concerned. We’re facing a surge that we have yet to see here locally, and we don’t perceive that changing over the next month to six weeks,” McKay said.

That’s why he’s asking everyone to be patient with this vaccine rollout and continue to practice those safety measures that have been in place for months.

“I think people have to remind themselves we have to maintain social distancing, we have to keep wearing our masks, maintaining small gatherings,” McKay said.

McKay says the Blue Ridge Health Department is working closely with county administrators to identify fixed locations to vaccinate people across the district.

Copyright 2021 WVIR. All rights reserved.