BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Officials with the Botetourt County Department of Fire & EMS announced Monday the department has achieved vaccination distribution status with both the Virginia Department of Health and the CDC.
“Since mid-2020, department leadership has been working to ensure that Botetourt County residents can gain access to the COVID-19 vaccine,” the Botetourt County Department of Fire & EMS said in a statement on Monday, April 19. “Most of this coordination has taken place with the Roanoke-Alleghany Health District, as they serve as the area’s main point for widespread distribution for the vaccine.”
According to the department, through the combined efforts of a part-time paramedic and , Kyle Sperber, who is also a graduate student at Georgetown University studying biodefense and infectious diseases; Emergency Manager Daniel Murray; the department’s medical director Dr. Carol Bernier; and department leadership, the administrative process to become an approved vaccination distribution point was completed.
In the past two weeks, officials say the department’s approval to proceed was confirmed.
On Tuesday, April 13, the department reportedly received its first allotment of 20 doses of the Moderna vaccine. By the end of the day on Wednesday, the first 10 doses were administered.
“We have made a concentrated effort to push for becoming a vaccination site and get to the people that can’t get to the vaccine through other means. Our citizens deserve every opportunity to access the vaccine, if they want to receive it, and this is just one more way that we can get vaccines in arms,” Chief Jason Ferguson stated.
Officials say a lot of work has been put into completing all the administrative paperwork, as well as making sure proper vaccine storage requirements are met and personnel delivering the vaccine have received appropriate training.
“I am super excited to see our men and women of the Department take on this crucial role in delivering services to the community,” said Dr. Bernier. “This goes above and beyond traditional emergency medical care, this is preventative medicine and public health. During times like these, we need our 1st responders to be far more than emergency focused, and Botetourt has really stepped up to the plate.”
“This is an excellent opportunity for Botetourt County. I couldn’t be prouder of the efforts of our Fire & EMS throughout this entire pandemic. This is just one more way that we are trying to ensure our communities are taken care of,” explained Board of Supervisors Chairman Dr. Mac Scothorn. “Our crews definitely go above and beyond traditional emergency services delivery, this is just one more example of that.”
According to the department, the next opportunity for vaccine distribution will be on Sunday, April 25 in the form of a “POD” — or point of distribution site — in the Buchanan area.
Details are still being worked out at this time, but officials say a total of 50 vaccines have been requested to support this week’s efforts.