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Augusta Health Vaccine Clinic Update: October 19, 2021

October 19, 2021
Published in: COVID-19

In partnership with the Central Shenandoah Health District (CSHD), Augusta Health continues community vaccinations for COVID-19.

Current Vaccination Dose Count at Augusta Health:

  • Total doses given at Augusta Health Vaccination Clinics: 93,714
  • Community member fully-vaccinated at AH Vaccination Clinics: 44,774
  • Boosters for the immunocompromised 8,150

Current Situation
While a review of statistical COVID data shows a decline in prevalence across our region, our Augusta Health testing positivity rate hovers around a disconcerting 20%. It appears we have now passed the peak of the current COVID surge; however, Augusta Health remains in a protracted plateau of between 40 to 50 COVID inpatients per day. We anticipate we will remain in this plateau for several weeks to come, and the prospect of future surges are a part of our local pandemic reality until our community vaccination rates improve.

Over the 24 hours preceding 9 am on Tuesday, October 19, there were 16 new positive COVID-19 cases diagnosed through Augusta Health testing sites.

Our current inpatient COVID-19 census is 33, with again four deaths over the past week. The percentage of our COVID-19 patients who are critical care/ICU level patients remains at about 20% of hospitalized COVID patients. We continue to operate two ICUs and our ICUs both remain near capacity.

Because we anticipate the plateau will continue, Augusta Health is creating a path forward to provide both care for COVID patients while resuming the provision of elective services to the community. Over the next several weeks, team members will be redeployed back to their home departments so these services can begin. This could, at times, create staffing vacuums on the inpatient units. When this happens, we will cap inpatient census in key areas. We anticipate this model will continue until we see a decrease in inpatient COVID census couple with an increase in staffing.

The flexibility, resilience and determination of Augusta Health team members to redeploy and work where the care needs are greatest is inspiring. This has been the most challenging time of the pandemic to date, and it is the staff's dedication that has made it possible for Augusta Health to continue to care for this community.

Augusta Health believes that increasing vaccination rates is the best and fastest way out of this pandemic. Thanks to those who have already vaccinated.

Help to continue to slow the spread and lower the projections: Please vaccinate, wear masks indoors even if vaccinated, wash hands frequently and stay socially distant from others when possible. COVID vaccinations are the still the most effective and lasting way to prevent COVID infections in our community, and the best defense against serious illness and death.

Vaccination Eligibility
Augusta Health is vaccinating everyone age 12 and older who lives, works or goes to school in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for individuals age 18 and over. Pfizer vaccine is authorized for individuals age 12 and older; a parent or guardian must be present to consent to vaccination of those under the age of 18.

There are now two groups of previously vaccinated people who can receive third-dose COVID-19 booster shots.

The first group, approved several weeks ago is:

  • Individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised (no proof of a medical condition is required at this time); and who
  • Have already received two doses of either the Pfizer vaccine or the Moderna vaccine; and who
  • Received their second dose of vaccine more than 28 days ago.

The second, recently approved group is:

  • Those age 65 and over, or
  • Those ages 18-64 with an underlying medical condition, or
  • Those who live in congregate settings such as long-term care facilities or shelters, or
  • Those who work in high-risk occupations, who
  • Have already received two doses of PFIZER vaccine only, and who
  • Received their second dose more than six months ago.

Although the FDA advisory panel has endorsed and recommended a Moderna booster for the general (non-immunocompromised) public, the CDC will meet this week to discuss Moderna boosters. The boosters cannot be given until the CDC approves their administration and provides guidance.

Appointments are required for all booster shots and are available on vaccinate.augustahealth.com. Those who meet criteria for the second group but received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine are not eligible for boosters at this time. Although the FDA advisory panel has endorsed and recommended a Moderna booster for the general (non-immunocompromised) public, the CDC will meet this week to discuss Moderna boosters. The boosters cannot be given until the CDC approves their administration and provides guidance.

The criteria for the two types of vaccine boosters can be confusing; if you have questions about eligibility, please call Augusta Health's Vaccination Call Center at (540) 332-5122.

Please bring COVID Vaccination Record Card to the booster appointment.

Vaccinations in Primary Care Offices
Vaccinations for COVID-19 continue in all Augusta Medical Group primary care offices. Patients who prefer to receive a vaccination from their personal physician should contact their doctor's office to be scheduled into the next available vaccination appointment block.

Community-Based Clinics
This week, Augusta Health is sending vaccination teams to local long-term care facilities to assist with the vaccination of residents and staff at those sites.

Community organizations that would like to partner with Augusta Health for a Vaccination Clinic can contact VaccinationTaskForce [at] augustahealth.com for more information on the requirements.

Large on-campus Vaccination Clinics
Appointments are preferred for clinics. Walk-ins are welcome.

Go to vaccinate.augustahealth.com to view the links and schedule an appointment. Information about new clinics, the links and the criteria for each link, are posted as available. On-campus clinics for the remainder of this week are:

  • Tuesday, October 19: After school/after work clinic hours for those are unable to come during the day. The clinic will run from 3:30 pm until 7 pm. Walk-ins welcome until 6 pm.

This is a dual Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson clinic. Anyone age 12 and older may receive Pfizer vaccine; Johnson & Johnson is a one-dose vaccine available to those age 18 and older and administered if available. The link is open on vaccinate.augustahealth.com

  • Wednesday, October 20: THIRD-DOSE BOOSTER CLINIC.

The clinic will run from 2:00 pm until 7:00 pm. Please verify criteria for one of the two approved populations for boosters. Pfizer booster available for both populations; Moderna booster only approved for immunocompromised population. Please bring Vaccination Record Card or record of previous vaccination. The link is open on vaccinate.augustahealth.com.

  • Thursday, October 21: After school/after work clinic hours for those are unable to come during the day. The clinic will run from 3:30 pm until 7 pm. Walk-ins welcome until 6 pm.

This is a dual Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson clinic. Anyone age 12 and older may receive Pfizer vaccine; Johnson & Johnson is a one-dose vaccine available to those age 18 and older and administered if available. The link is open on vaccinate.augustahealth.com

  • Friday, October 22: THIRD-DOSE BOOSTER CLINIC.

The clinic will run from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm. Please verify criteria for one of the two approved populations for boosters. Pfizer booster available for both populations; Moderna booster only approved for immunocompromised population. Please bring Vaccination Record Card or record of previous vaccination. The link is open on vaccinate.augustahealth.com.

Vaccination Call Center
Not everyone has access to the internet. Others just have questions. For assistance, call Augusta Health's Vaccination Call Center at (540) 332-5122. The Call Center is staffed Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 4:30 pm to answer questions and help to schedule vaccination appointments.

Homebound patients are being vaccinated through a pilot program with Central Shenandoah EMS. Contact the Vaccination Call Center for more information.

We appreciate our continued partnership with CSHD as we work together to provide vaccines to all in the community who need them.