Fayette County has created an online COVID-19 vaccine registry, and held its first vaccination clinic Monday at the Uniontown Mall.
The registry can be accessed by clicking on the yellow COVID-19 box at fayettecountypa.org, and navigating to the “individual registration” tab.
Monday’s clinic was hosted by WVU Medicine Uniontown Hospital.
“Just 20 days ago, the (county’s vaccine) task force met for the first time,” said Muriel Nuttall, executive director of the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce and co-lead of the task force. “In 20 days, we’re sitting at our first community clinic, and that’s pretty incredible.”
Nuttall said that the hospital will be able to vaccinate 5,400 people by Sunday now that the clinic is open.
Currently, the task force is only administering vaccine to those eligible under Phase 1A and 1A+ classifications, including health care workers, those living in long-term care facilities, people age 65 and older and people age 16 to 64 with high-risk health conditions.
Jack and Annetta Beachly, of Uniontown, were among those who got the vaccine Monday. Both said they were thankful the vaccine was available to them now. Annetta Beachly said her grandchildren live in Ohio, and she has not been able to see them because of the pandemic. She said she hopes others will get the vaccine as well, so people can get out and see their families again.
Donna Raften, of Uniontown, said she felt a great relief when she was getting vaccinated Monday.
“I have health problems and I was very afraid of getting COVID-19 because I was told I could die if I got it due to my autoimmune disease,” she said. “(The clinic) is a wonderful thing for the hospital to be offering.”
Mia Shaffer, of Smithfield, stood outside the clinic Monday, waiting for her parents, Phillip and Maryann Cecchini of Uniontown, to get vaccinated. She said her entire family is happy her parents are getting the vaccine, as they have had a difficult time with family being separated due to the pandemic.
Nuttall said partner providers of the vaccine in the area will receive access to the registry, so they can simply call those listed on the registry to schedule vaccinations. These partner providers include Uniontown Hospital, Highlands Hospital, Centerville Clinics, Cornerstone Care, Oak Valley Medical, Hunter Pharmacy, Rite Aid, Giant Eagle and Perry Drug.
Among task force representatives to speak was Uniontown Hospital president and CEO Dr. David Hess.
“We put together an operation here and a team that can grow as we continue to receive more vaccines, and for this reason we hope that this can serve as a model,” Hess said. “I’m hoping that other areas and other counties can see us as a model to move forward and make sure that we get vaccines in people as quickly as we possibly can.”
Nuttall said the Fayette County commissioners and state leaders were all solidly in support of the task force and helped to move the group forward.
The Uniontown Hospital vaccine clinics will continue at the Uniontown Mall in the former Burlington Coat Factory location, and additional vaccination clinics are being established through Highlands Hospital and for the local veteran community. All vaccinations are by appointment only and there is no cost for registering or receiving a vaccination.
For those who cannot access the website to register, the task force has a hotline at 724-466-4142 for people to register over the phone.
Commissioner Scott Dunn urged patience as the task force does its best to vaccinate people as quickly as possible.
“We have a lot of people to get vaccinated,” he said. “We are probably looking at a few months until the vaccine for 1A is done.”