West Virginians now have access to a statewide Covid-19 vaccination pre-registration tool.

West Virginia is the first state to deploy the new system through Everbridge, a global provider of critical event management technologies. The tool, which launched on Jan. 25, enables West Virginians to pre-register for Covid-19 vaccination and receive updates through text, phone and/or email. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources unveiled the new service, which is available on vaccinate.wv.gov.

Those who have already been placed on a wait list through their local health department or other medical provider, as well as those who have already received their first vaccine dose, will be integrated into the new system and, thus, do not need to pre-register. The system is open for pre-registration. Moving forward, vaccination scheduling will also be available through the system. Scheduling will continue based on the state's overlapping phased approach for administering the limited vaccine supply.

"Gov. Justice tasked DHHR with figuring out a vaccination registration and scheduling tool for West Virginians to use," said Bill J. Crouch, DHHR cabinet secretary. "This new service allows West Virginians to directly enter their information into the computer, or with assistance from the vaccine info line, and will keep folks from having to call multiple times to our local health departments, whose phone lines are already overwhelmed."

The system offers West Virginians the ability to pre-register, receive real-time updates on vaccine availability and schedule an appointment to get vaccinated when supplies allow. Individuals can opt to receive regular communication updates on West Virginia's vaccination process. The system allows people to select their preferences for communication through texts, email or voicemails over regular phone lines.

"This is another example of how we continue to lead the nation with our Covid-19 vaccination program," said Justice. "This is another tool in our toolbox that will help make the vaccination process as easy and efficient as possible, and I'm proud of everyone who worked hard to stand up this system so quickly."

Any West Virginian who does not have the ability to register online can call the Covid-19 vaccine info line at 1-833-734-0965 to get help with pre-registration. The call center is active from Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At this time, West Virginians 65-and-older and certain high-risk priority groups who are pre-registered will receive a text, phone call or email with an appointment once it is available to their group and in their geographical area. Those who are not in the current priority groups are able to pre-register online and will be offered an appointment when eligible based on limited supply. West Virginians are encouraged to pre-register and to continue to follow vaccinate.wv.gov for updated information.

"The more people who choose to get vaccinated when it's their turn, the better," added Crouch. "This will help us build community immunity in West Virginia."

• • •

Justice, the DHHR, and the West Virginia Joint Interagency Task Force for Covid-19 Vaccines announced earlier this week the Covid-19 vaccine clinics which are being held through Operation Save Our Wisdom. This week's clinics are available for West Virginians who are 65-and-older.

The free vaccination clinics were held in Berkeley, Braxton, Brooke, Cabell, Greenbrier, Hancock, Harrison, Hardy, Kanawha, Logan, Marshall, Mercer, Monongalia, Pocahontas, Raleigh, Randolph, Wood and Wyoming counties. Residents from any county in West Virginia were permitted to access an appointment at any of the vaccination clinics listed, regardless of their county of residence.

Many clinics held this week were already full as they are utilizing existing wait lists. However, West Virginians can now pre-register for a vaccine through the West Virginia Covid-19 vaccine registration system at vaccinate.wv.gov. All clinics require appointments and walk-ins will not be accepted. The community vaccination clinic model will continue to be used each week and additional locations will be added as vaccine supply increases. Plans call for clinics to be held in each of the state's 55 counties beginning next week.

On Friday, Jan. 29, clinics will include:

Kanawha County (full; will utilize existing wait list)

• 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center, 200 Civic Center Drive, Charleston, WV 25301. By appointment only.

Raleigh County (moved to Jan. 29)

• 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Beckley Convention Center, 200 Armory Drive, Beckley, WV 25801. By appointment only; call 304-254-2433.

• • •

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department and the Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority, in partnership with Charleston Area Medical Center and West Virginia Health Right, administered Covid-19 vaccines to 3,870 people during a clinic at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center Saturday.

In total on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, approximately 6,500 people got the first or second dose of their vaccines. Patients included those over the age of 65, health care workers and first responders.

Because of the availability of more doses than originally expected, several hundred people who had left their names on a call-down list when the call center was open Wednesday afternoon were contacted to get their vaccines.

A team of more than 70 partners, including volunteers and staff from the office of U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the University of Charleston, CAMC, West Virginia Health Right, KCHD, KCEAA, the City of Charleston and the Kanawha County Commission, contributed to Saturday's effort.

"I am so proud of this team and the work we've put in over the last three days," Dr. Sherri Young, health officer and executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, said in a press release. "Our directive is to get vaccines into arms, and we're doing that as quickly and efficiently as we can."

Young encourages even those who had their Covid-19 vaccines to continue to wear their masks, avoid crowds and frequently wash their hands to help stop the spread of the disease.

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