Health director excited to vaccinate college students as Phase 2 begins


LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Dr. Scott Spillmann, the Health Director for the Pittsylvania/Danville and Southside health districts, is excited about getting to vaccinate young, healthy people. He says that will go a long way in reaching what’s known as herd immunity.

Monday, April 5 was the first day the two districts he oversees began vaccinating people in Phase 2, which includes everyone over the age of 16.

“I’ve been pushing the envelope in the state about that because they’ve not wanted, I’ve been asking to let us open up to two for the past few weeks.”

In the past few days, several health districts throughout Virginia have moved in to Phase 2.

In our area, that includes the Southside, Pittsylvania/Danville, West Piedmont, and the Roanoke City and Alleghany health districts.

Spillmann says the timing of entering phase two is great for a specific population.

“Colleges and university students and their faculty who are going to be leaving once they get their exams over. We think we’re going to be able to have enough vaccine to get started around here very, very soon.”

He says while college students generally don’t get very sick from COVID, their lifestyles easily make them carriers to potentially infect vulnerable populations.

“They go to spring break, they go to parties, they go out, or they go to jobs, they go on mission trips. They do a lot of things that involve meeting a lot of other people, and then they come home and see the family, they see the grandparents.”

He says so far about a third of the total population in the Pittsylvania/Danville Health District has been vaccinated.

“We’re really trying to get to three quarters or more, 75 or 80 percent. So we still have a lot of places to get to. We have a lot of people who are willing to be vaccinated.”

Gov. Ralph Northam said Virginia will be fully in Phase 2 by April 18.

As of Monday, two health districts in the Commonwealth are still in Phase 1b. They are the Arlington and Crater districts. The Virginia Department of Health was not available to comment.

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