Local nurse explains why WV led the nation in vaccinations

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Stacy Hatfield works on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic. She showed up for work every day she could as an RN at Eppy’s Drug and IV, since the outbreak started in March of 2020. She did everything she could to protect herself, but it wasn’t enough. Her husband brought home the virus after working in the coal mines.

“My whole family had gotten it. And I have asthma, so it was a little bit hard for me,” Hatfield said.

It did not stop there. The virus soon hit other parts of her family. Her grandmother got the virus which caused a heart attack. Her mother was later hospitalized with the virus because she is a severe asthmatic.

“It was just a big heartache for all of us,” Hatfield said.

After experiencing the terrible effects of COVID-19 first hand, Hatfield was overjoyed to play a part of the vaccination process. Especially in the state of West Virginia, a leader in COVID-19 vaccinations.

Hatfield shares her pride for the mountain state with many others, like Judy Patterson who was recently vaccinated. West Virginia leads the nation in deaths from diabetes and drug overdoses, but now the state leads in a positive way.

“A sign of relief that we’re doing a good job. That we’re doing the best that we can,” Patterson said.

Tabitha Fox is the Chief Nursing Officer at Robert C. Byrd Clinic. She said what made West Virginia so successful in vaccinations was the utilization of local communities, unlike other states.

“Used a lot of your local hospitals, your clinics, your health departments, to distribute the vaccinations to a wider population,” Fox said.

West Virginia has the third oldest population in the nation. So, it was crucial the state was successful in the early stages of vaccine rollout.

“The risk for severe illness increases with age. So, your older adults are higher risk. So we started with our 80 and older population and now we are at our 65 and older,” Fox said.

As we vaccinate more of the population, people see a glimmer of hope the end of the COVID-19 pandemic is hopefully near.

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