By Lyra Bordelon
The vaccine rollout in Greenbrier County is pushing forward with help for those with extra needs.
Several issues with the rollout have emerged as the COVID-19 pandemic begins to get under control. This has prevented some West Virginians who want to be vaccinated from getting it.
“If we’re aware of the people around us and try to help everybody, we’ll all be better off together,” explained local organizer Jennifer Mason. “Part of that is being able to sign up for the vaccine and part of that is just being aware of your neighbors and helping when they need help.”
This includes lack of knowledge of the vaccine clinics, unfamiliarity with the Registration Process, inability to get registered (even though it is just a phone call), and lack of transportation to the fairgrounds to get the vaccine.
In order to combat this, Feeding Seniors and Mason have devised a new system for reaching out to people needing help.
“Greenbrier and Monroe County residents may call the United Way by dialing 211 to obtain assistance with registration for COVID Vaccines,” said Mason. “The United Way worker will ask if they need transportation and we will endeavor to provide the same through individual volunteers and volunteers from the Sheppard Center.”
Phone calls and emails are not the only way for those that like to get business done in person.
“If the individual prefers to register in person, but doesn’t have a computer or needs help to use one, they can go to the Greenbrier County Public Service office at 9035 Seneca Trail S, Fairlea WV, the location of the old Kentucky Fried Chicken,” Mason said. “They will be allowed to use the computers Commission has and/or one of the employees will help them to register on Everbridge.”
Currently, Meadow River Valley residents unable to come to a clinic can be assisted by Rainelle Medical Center. Mason is looking for a similar arraignment on the eastern side of the county.
“There are some Greenbrier County residents on the Greenbrier Valley side … need help with either transporting people to the fairgrounds or there are some people who are homebound [that need help],” Mason explained. “We’re working on a solution on how to get the vaccines to them.”
Those looking to volunteer as drivers must meet a few requirements.
“They have to have a valid driver’s license, they have to have insurance, and they have to go through training on how to transport elderly individuals,” Mason said. “There are some precautions they have to take.”
Feeding Seniors, a local group working with businesses to provide meals during the pandemic, has also helped the vaccine clinics.
“Feeding Seniors is feeding the volunteers that are working the vaccine clinics,” Mason said. “That’s what we’re up to right now. … We have funding through the end of May, but they believe they’re going to go to the end of July. For the moment I have funding, but if people can spare some money in order to provide meals to those volunteers, that would be great.”
Those looking to donate to this effort should make checks out to the tax exempt Bimbo Coles and Company Project and mail them to 1194 Barkalin Lane in Lewisburg. Mason encouraged everyone to help in whatever way they could, even if it’s just with your community.
“My want list is for people to just be aware of their neighbors and to see if they need help,” Mason said. “I’m not saying you have to get this vaccine, I’m saying that if you want to, I want to make it possible for you to get it. There are a lot of people who are infrequently visited, they may only get Meals on Wheels or something, and being aware of those individuals and seeing if they need any help [is what we need].”