WEST JEFFERSON — AppHealthCare teamed up with Ashe County Schools to hold a mass COVID-19 vaccination for the Moderna vaccine on Jan. 23.

Residents 65 and older along with health care workers got a chance to get vaccinated with the 500 vaccines given to AppHealthCare by the state.

The event was structured through appointments given by the health department through the vaccine interest form released earlier this month.

Jen Greene, director and CEO of AppHealthCare expressed her excitement at the organization on Saturday.

“This was put together in the last week,” Greene said. “We received a lot of help from emergency management and all of the volunteers that are working here today. Now that we’ve done this, I think it’ll be easy for us to stand up and do more as we gather more vaccine supplies.”

All of the volunteers at Saturday’s event who had not previously gotten the shot were then vaccinated afterwards.

The health department finds out how many supplies they will get for the upcoming week on Thursday’s, creating a tight schedule for those who plan the event. According to AppHealthCare, Ashe County will get zero first doses of vaccine during the next week.

Throughout the event, some who were scheduled were unable to show up which allowed other individuals to be worked into the appointments.

Cooperative Extension Director Travis Birdsell was among the planning committee for the mass vaccination.

“Today has been incredible,” said Birdsell. “The relief we’re seeing from people getting their vaccine is overwhelming. We had a fear that the county would be opposed to this event, but there has been a shift and it was a good problem to have. We’ve seen where people now are really wanting to get in here.”

According to volunteers, the spirit of the community is what prompted the occasion to run smoothly.

Don and MaryAnne Moore, owners of McDonald’s in West Jefferson, provided more than 85 bags of lunch for those who were interested.

“It takes a community coming together to make a community successful,” Moore said.

Patty Gambill with emergency management stated that Saturday had gone very smoothly.

“We have moved people quickly and efficiently. We couldn’t have done this without the volunteers. Fire, law enforcement and rescue has been here as well,” said Gambill.

County Manager Adam Stumb also got his first vaccination and expressed the ease of the process.

In the coming weeks, the county is unsure where the next mass vaccination will be held for the community to get their second doses, but many hope for a polished and well-ordered experience.

To fill out the vaccination interest form, visit AppHealthCare’s website at www.apphealthcare.com.

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