West Liberty faculty and staff continue to receive COVID-19 vaccine

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, individuals throughout W. Va are getting eager to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

W. Va Governor Jim Justice announced on Dec. 11, 2020 the “Vaccine Program Timeline”, explaining supplies of the vaccine are going to be limited and will increase overtime. According to the CDC, two shots of the vaccine are required in order for them to work — which is partially the reason supplies are limited. Therefore, two phases of vaccine allocation were created for the state of W. Va known as Phase 1 and Phase 2. Phase 1 began in early Jan. and included frontline health care workers, first responders, and education workers starting with those at Higher Ed institutions. Phase 1 vaccinations are set to conclude by the end of Feb. and early March. Phase two will include the general population, and according to Gov. Justice’s timeline, set to begin in early March. More information about Vaccine rollout throughout the state can be found by visiting West Virginia’s Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) website.

With West Liberty personnel falling within Phase 1 requirements, vaccinations have been received and administered by the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department to faculty and staff as early as Jan. 6, according to Director of Media Relations, Maureen Zambito.

Since Jan. 6, more West Liberty staff and faculty have received at least one of their two vaccination shots. Two Hilltopper faculty and staff members willing to share their COVID-19 vaccine experiences with The Trumpet include Zambito and assistant provost and English Professor Dr. Jeremy Larance.

Zambito received her first dose on Jan. 19, 2021 with the only noticeable side effect being a sore arm at the site of injection. According to Zambito, the process of receiving the vaccine through the Wheeling-Ohio Health Department was “very organized”. With the biggest deterrent to getting the vaccine being fear, Zambito encourages everyone to be confident the vaccine is safe. Making the decision to get the vaccine was an easy one for Zambito as it was mandated by the state of W. Va., and she felt it was her “duty as a good citizen”.

Larance received his first dose on Jan. 15, 2021 with an experience similar to Zambito stating after his first shot, he “only experienced a little soreness in my arm the next day”. Larance got his shot sooner than expected due to some people not showing up for their appointment. “Once the vials are taken out of storage, they must be used in a certain amount of time or they can’t be used. I was on their list of people to contact, and I just happened to be nearby, so I was able to get my shot a week or so before. I would say–on the whole–that W. Va. is doing a better job than most,” Larance shared.

Larance received his second shot on Feb. 12 and Zambito was scheduled to receive her second shot on Feb. 15; however, the appointment was canceled due to a snow storm hitting the Ohio Valley area.

“I would like to congratulate every employee and student at West Liberty University for doing so well with the unbelievable changes brought on by the pandemic. We are living, working and learning through a national crisis but WLU is doing great! We follow CDC protocols and take care of our campus community daily by wearing masks, social distancing and practicing good hand hygiene. I’m proud to say that it is working,” Zambito said.

For more information regarding COVID-19 questions or how to pre-register for the vaccine, please visit wesliberty.edu/coronavirus. Pre-registration is open to all West Virginians who are interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the W. Va DHHR, all West Virginia’s over the age of 16 are encouraged to pre-register through the West Virginia COVID-19 Vaccine Registration System. Again, vaccine supplies are limited, so pre-registration does not mean immediate access to a vaccine.