New River Health District expects COVID-19 vaccine within two weeks

New River Valley News

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The Director of the New River Health District, Dr. Noelle Bissell, predicts a COVID-19 vaccine will be ready to be administered in her district within two week.

She’s calling it the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I think it’s a pretty exciting development,” Dr. Bissell said. “I want to remind you that vaccines are the most significant, if not one of the most significant, public health interventions that we have.”

She says frontline workers in healthcare and emergency response teams will be the first to receive the vaccine, followed by long-term care facilities.

In education, staff and students are predicted to have a chance to take the vaccine in the spring.

“I didn’t expect it to actually come so soon,” said Maisoon Haddadin, a Virginia Tech sophomore. “It felt like it was just in the future, you know?”

Haddadin was a Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise Major last year, which means she took bio classes and knows about messenger RNA — mRNA for short — which is the key element of the vaccine that mimics the virus and triggers the body’s immune response.

“Since I’ve learned about it before and reading about it again and I know exactly what’s going to happen, it makes sense,” Haddadin said. “I know what’s going into it, and I’m not really worried about it.”

When asked, she said she’d take the vaccine in the spring, but she doesn’t think the pandemic is close to being over.

“I definitely won’t be going back to classes in-person quite yet because I know not everyone would take it because people are skeptical, but I do think it is a good step closer,” the sophomore said.

“We still have a lot of hard work, so hopefully we can hang on, having that light at the end of the tunnel,” said Dr. Bissell.

Keep in mind that two doses of the vaccine need to be taken, with the second dose taken three to four weeks after the first.

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