AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - Augusta County Administrator Tim Fitzgerald is representing the Central Shenandoah region on the Governor’s Vaccine Distribution Committee.
The committee is made up of about nine other county administrators or assistants across Virginia, which meets virtually each week with the state leadership team.
“They open up the floor and they let us share things that we hear. We do hear out in the community lots of frustrations and issues,” Fitzgerald said.
Some of the challenges with vaccine rollout that have been expressed across the valley include confusion over the state’s system for scheduling appointments and reaching folks without internet access.
“I’ve thought about how do we get that word out? There’s opportunities for folks to call the health department to do some things, but how do we make sure folks know that? and how do they get that?” Fitzgerald said.
Another area of concern was the effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but Fitzgerald said when that vaccine became available in our region, appointments continued to be booked.
“When it’s your turn and you have the opportunity to get the vaccination, get whatever is available at that time,” Fitzgerald said. “The long-term effectiveness is not that much different.”
Fitzgerald said many of the issues that we’ve had here in the valley are the same challenges that are being seen in other parts of the state.
“The biggest difference there is just the number of vaccines that’s available to give. My friends in Henrico, for example, have a clinic set up at the Richmond Raceway, and they have the ability to do thousands of people in a day, and that’s great based on their population,” Fitzgerald said.
He did note the successes with vaccine distribution across the area as well, like our local health departments creating more opportunities for more people to get vaccinated, like by adding the option for leftover appointments to be posted online.
Fitzgerald believes that availability will continue to increase, and he said he’s hopeful that by the time vaccine appointments are open to people in Phase 1C, there will be more vaccine supply as well so that anybody who chooses to get vaccinated can do so.