Officials frustrated by Crater Health District vaccine rollout: 'We're requesting more vaccines'

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Posted at 3:20 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 20:04:40-05

PETERSBURG, Va. -- The Crater Health District released more information Thursday about its transition into Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout as local governments within that health district have been expressing frustration about the lack of information.

Crater Health District's Director Dr. Alton Hart said he understands and is also frustrated, but said the health department is working to improve their systems.

That district's move into Phase 1B has been slower compared to other areas, according to Hart, because of the size of the district and a lack of resources.

However, Hart said the district now has a link on its website that people click to get on the waiting list for the vaccine. [RELATED: Crater Health District Vaccine Waitlist for Groups 1A and 1B]

Hart also said the district is increasing the number of phones and operators in their call center to handle registration that way for people who may not have internet access or be tech-savvy.

Hart said he is aware of complaints, but said the system was overwhelmed when they opened up to the 1B population this week. He noted the district has received thousands of calls.

The chair of Sussex County Board of Supervisors said one of her concerns about the elderly population, who are now eligible as part of the move into 1B, is where those folks will have to go to get the vaccine.

"If you're 85 years old and your car, you know, isn't the greatest in the world and you're faced with driving 75 or 100 miles round trip -- that's just not an answer," Sussex County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Susan Seward said.

Hart agreed and said the plan is not to make people have to leave their city or county.

"We have seven health departments in our eight localities and we want to use all of our local venues as best as possible and we may have to use satellite sites in those localities," Hart said.

Hart added that the speed at which they are able to get shots in arms will depend on the amount of vaccine available.

The director said their district is supposed to receive 2 percent of Virginia's weekly COVID-19 vacccine shipment.

But Hart warned that because of the shortage, it could be several weeks before someone who signs up might hear about a chance to get vaccinated.

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Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.

COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.

Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:

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