Morgantown, W.Va., January 25, 2021 – Citing the urgent need to vaccinate as many West Virginians against the SARS-CoV-2 virus as soon as possible, the elected leadership of Monongalia County, the Monongalia Health Department (MCHD), Mon Health System, and WVU Medicine announced today (Jan. 25) that they are combining resources – people, vaccines, and infrastructure – to support Gov. Jim Justice’s on-going efforts to vaccinate West Virginians against the virus. The new partnership will unite community vaccination efforts utilizing the existing clinic that WVU Medicine established last week at the Morgantown Mall in the former Sears location (9520 Mall Rd, Morgantown, West Virginia 26501).
“I’m excited to see these three entities in Monongalia County come together for such an important cause,” Samuel A. Chico III, chairman of the Monongalia County Board of Health, said. “We’re using the best assets of each group, and it’s really going to be a game changer for us and the people we serve to bring the pandemic under control. We welcome other communities who would like to rapidly vaccinate their population to join this alliance.”
The leadership of all the entities stressed the importance of pursuing a unified and integrated approach across the region. “Coming together as one to combat this virus is imperative,” Monongalia County Commissioner Sean P. Sikora said. “By leveraging the combined strength of WVU Medicine and Mon Health System, as well as the expertise of the Mon County Health Department, we will ensure we are all aligned, organized, and operating in the most efficient manner possible.”
The consolidated clinic will build upon the momentum that has started across the region to vaccinate citizens. “We’re encouraged that we now have a larger infrastructure and commitment of resources and workforce so that this should be one of the premiere vaccination clinics in the state,” Lee B. Smith, M.D., J.D., Executive Director & Health Officer, MCHD, said. “At the end of last week, MCHD had administered 4,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, so we are excited to lead this effort.”
As vaccine supplies become more readily available, the vaccine “super clinic” will be able to vaccinate 4,000 people per day. “The only way this pandemic ends is by vaccinating our way out of it,” Albert L. Wright, Jr., president and CEO of the WVU Health System, said. “Together, we are building a sustainable operation that can vaccinate as many West Virginians as quickly as possible – there’s just no other way to do it.”
Nationally, West Virginia continues to be recognized for its success at getting the vaccine in people’s arms. “We are energized by the ongoing collaboration of our Health Department, Health Systems, and state and local leaders to address this pandemic head on and continue to put the safety of our communities first,” David S. Goldberg, president & CEO, Mon Health System, said. “This is the best way to put as many boots on the ground to support Gov. Justice’s efforts to protect and vaccinate all West Virginians. Every West Virginian should be ready and willing to get this vaccine – it’s safe; it works; and it’s the quickest way for us to get back to normal. We thank Albert Wright and WVU Medicine for their standing up a central location to make this happen so promptly.”
The clinic will continue to operate daily based on the amount of vaccines made available through the federal and state governments. Last week, Gov. Justice stated that he wanted anyone 65 or older to get the vaccine. People who want to be notified when vaccine is available should visit www.wvumedicine.org/vaccine, and fill out the online form. Once they are notified that more vaccine is available, they can schedule their appointments on the same website. They can also call 833-795-SHOT (833-795-7468) to schedule their appointment. As in the past, the clinic will not accept any walk-in appointments, and patients must present a valid West Virginia ID or U.S. passport and a utility bill with a West Virginia address to verify West Virginia residence.
“I want to thank all these incredible organizations for their leadership as we work together to provide vaccines and save lives in North Central West Virginia and across our entire state,” Gov. Justice said. “I hope we can expand this ‘super-hub’ model statewide so that we can efficiently vaccinate as many West Virginians as possible. West Virginia leads the nation in distributing COVID-19 vaccines because we know how to work together, using a common-sense approach, to get things done.”