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Health & Science

Veterans, Their Families Get First Dose of Vaccine

June Leffler/ WVPB
Michelle Powell made the trip from Wheeling to Charleston with her husband, John, to get her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

As part of West Virginia’s Covid-19 rollout, health officials are reaching out to veterans.

At the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center yesterday, about 400 people got their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Folks like 60-year-old Michelle Powell of Wheeling. She drove down to the capital city with her husband John, who’s 61 and served in the armed forces.

He already received his first shot. But he got an email from U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin’s office, saying his wife was eligible at the Charleston clinic.

“I called them up and made an appointment for my wife to get the vaccine. I already had it from the VA in Pittsburgh, but she needed it so I traveled from Wheeling to make sure she got it,” Powell said.

Manchin’s office did much of the outreach for the clinic, contacting the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and other groups throughout the state.

Like all clinics at Charleston’s convention center, Dr. Sherri Young with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department guided operations. She says about half of the patients were veterans, and half were their household members or caregivers.

"We’ve had some feedback that veterans might be getting their doses of the vaccine from the VA, but their families couldn’t,” Young said.

This clinic for veterans is a one off event. But Young anticipates that her department will continue to serve veterans through its general vaccines clinics and house visits for those that are homebound.

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