Worcester Health Agency Marks 200th Vaccine Clinic; 56% Of Residents Fully Vaccinated

Worcester Health Agency Marks 200th Vaccine Clinic; 56% Of Residents Fully Vaccinated
A vaccine is administered at a Worcester County clinic in February. Photo by Charlene Sharpe

SNOW HILL – The Worcester County Health Department is recognizing residents, staff and community partners as it celebrates its 200th COVID-19 vaccine clinic.

On Monday, the local health department celebrated its 200th vaccine clinic with concurrent events at the Berlin and Pocomoke health centers.

Public Affairs Officer Travis Brown said the milestone highlights the efforts of clinic staff, community partners and volunteers to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to the community.

“It’s really been an all-hands-on-deck approach,” he said.

The health department this week recognized community partners – including Atlantic General Hospital, the Pocomoke Elks Lodge, state and local government agencies, and various fire department – with a #ThankYouFor200 campaign to celebrate its 200th clinic.

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But Brown said the agency isn’t stopping there. In the coming weeks, several clinics have been scheduled at locations throughout Worcester County.

“We’re trying to meet people where they are,” he said.

Since late December, the health department has offered vaccine clinics to individuals throughout Worcester County.

As of Monday, the agency has distributed more than 13,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Officials say 62% of Worcester’s population has received at least one dose while 56% have been fully vaccinated, including 27% of youth ages 12 to 17.

“We are proud of the response from Worcester County residents who have been instrumental in us achieving our current vaccination rate,” said Rebecca Jones, health officer for Worcester County. “We want to thank all of our staff who have taken part in our 200 clinics, the volunteers and partners who have provided support, the locations that have opened their doors for the clinics, and every person who has made the choice to protect themselves and their families by getting a COVID-19 vaccine.”

Brown said the health department held a total of 64 clinics in June and July and vaccinated more than 400 individuals during that time. He noted, however, that interest in receiving the vaccine has waned in recent months.

“The real push now is to get people who are on the fence to go and get vaccinated,” he said.

While appointments for the vaccine were limited earlier in the year, Brown said doses are now readily available.

Vaccines are offered to those who register for or visit a clinic location. The health department will also have doses available to those ages 12 and older at the Great Pocomoke Fair on Aug. 5-6 from 5-7 p.m.

“Our vaccination rates are consistently within the top 10 across the state … but we always want to be higher,” he said. “We are doing as much as we can to make sure clinics are visible, available, convenient and welcoming.”

Brown encouraged people ages 12 and older to get vaccinated if they are able. He noted information on the vaccine and health department clinics are posted on worcesterhealth.org.

“We have seen an uptick in the delta variant and things are opening back up, which is the main driver of this,” he said. “We know everyone wants to return to normal, but one of the best things we can do is make sure as many people as possible get vaccinated. It protects your family, and it protects your community.”

While Brown noted there have been reports of breakthrough infections, he said the vaccine reduces the severity of symptoms.

“There are no vaccines that are 100% effective,” he said.

For more information, visit worcesterhealth.org or call 667-253-2140 during business hours. Online appointments and walk-ins for vaccine clinics are welcome.

“We understand it’s been a rough year and that we want to return to normal,” Brown said. “But keep in mind COVID is still out there.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.