Despite the chaotic year 2020 has been, we’re ending on an encouraging note.
As Gov. Jim Justice announced on Dec. 4, West Virginia is scheduled to receive thousands of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this month. It’s certainly a hopeful way to end the year, knowing that West Virginia’s most vulnerable are within reach of a vaccine that can help keep them safe.
We must remember though — not all of us will be able to receive the vaccine immediately.
State officials are still working on a long-term distribution plan, but the first available doses will go to healthcare workers, long-term care facility staff and residents, and to community infrastructure and emergency responders, public health officials and other first responders.
That’s why it’s so important to remain vigilant in the coming months.
The holidays are upon us, and while it is traditionally a time for gathering, please remember to do so safely by following the guidance of trusted public health experts.
- Consider a virtual gathering or keep your gathering small.
- Consider getting tested before gathering — that way, you’ll have more information to allow you to help protect yourself and others. Free community COVID-19 testing is being conducted by local health departments around the state. Free testing will be held through December at the WVU Rec Center.
- Always wear your mask when you are outside of your home. Watch your distance from those who do not live with you. Wash your hands and wipe down hard surfaces frequently.
- Stay home if you don’t feel well and monitor your symptoms.
When the time comes for you to receive your vaccine, it’s important to participate. A vaccine will be our best tool to protect ourselves and each other. In the meantime, remember to use your power — stay six feet apart, wear your mask and wash your hands.
2020 has been a year like no other. I am thankful for our WVU family, and I appreciate all of the hard work and diligence that you have put into keeping our students, faculty and staff safe. No matter how you choose to celebrate this holiday season, I hope you are cautious and mindful of your safety and the safety of the people around you.
We are in this together. Happy Holidays.
Clay Marsh, M.D.
Vice President and Executive Dean
WVU Health Sciences
As West Virginia primary and secondary school students prepare for in-person instruction next week, an associate professor in the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy is organizing the effort to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to teachers and school personnel.