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Louisa County works to improve lower COVID-19 vaccination numbers

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 10:40 PM EDT
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LOUISA, Va. (WVIR) - While Charlottesville and Albemarle County are two of the top vaccinated places in Virginia, not all of the Blue Ridge is faring as well.

Only 57% of Louisa County adults have received a COVID-19 shot, and only half of its adults are fully vaccinated. We spoke with a family physician in the county and the area health district about how those trends can be reversed.

One thing that has helped as of late is shifting shots from big clinics to doctor’s offices.

“Particularly in rural areas, the elderly folks are used to coming to their doctor to get it,” Dr. Rex Harkrader of Louisa Family Practice said.

Louisa Family Practice has been giving shots since March, but it has only gotten more challenging.

“Most people who want it have gotten it,” he said. “There is a lot of opportunity for discussion and trying to reassure folks who just say that they haven’t gotten it.”

Part of their role has been talking to people about the shot, its safety, and answering questions like: ‘is it safe because it came out so quickly?’.

“I want to give them [an] accurate account of what’s happening out there and reassure them that it’s safe if they want to get it and encourage them to get it,” Harkrader said. “I think it is, I do think it’s important for their health as well as for others - their neighbor’s health.”

Louisa County neighbors may not be vaccinated, but most likely their Charlottesville and Albemarle County neighbors are.

Jason Elliott with the Blue Ridge Health District says lessons learned from those areas can help in Louisa.

“Whether it be teachers at our schools, pastors at our churches, or just neighbors at our house next door, a lot of people sharing great news and accurate information has really helped that percentage to continue to increase,” he said.

But Louisa is more rural and Elliott says it’s important to bring shots to their backyards - sometimes literally.

“We can bring the vaccine out on wheels and we can make sure we have that,” he said. “At this point, there’s nothing stopping us from making sure anyone who wants the vaccine can get it.”

The Blue Ridge Health District announced the following vaccine clinics in Louisa County over the summer months:

  • July 7 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Louisa Baptist Church
  • July 14 from 4-7:30 p.m. at the New Metal Gym
  • July 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the New Metal Gym
  • August 4 from 4-7:30 p.m. at the New Metal Gym

Area pharmacies, including WalMart, Walgreens, and CVS are still giving out shots.

If you’d like to make an appointment with the Blue Ridge Health District, you can call 434-972-6261.

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