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New efforts underway in Avery Co. to vaccinate seasonal workers, summer visitors

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 5:08 PM EDT
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NEWLAND, N.C. (WBTV) - Avery County sent its mobile health clinic trailers out on Thursday, hoping to vaccinate seasonal workers and visitors who are staying for the summer. It turned out, in the neighborhoods they went, most part-time residents already had been vaccinated in their home states.

They did find many local folks who wanted the vaccine as well as seasonal workers, too.

Madi Barry, from Washington, D.C., who just graduated from Lees-McRae College, will stay the summer and work at a local restaurant. With visitors coming from across the country she’s concerned because there won’t be a way to know which customers have been vaccinated.

“You don’t know where they’ve been or what they’ve been doing,” she said. It’s why she showed up at one of the clinics and got her first dose of Moderna.

Other seasonal workers, many who just moved to Avery County for the summer got in line as well. County officials say only 33 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, but the number is growing and progress fighting the virus has been made.

Debbie Gragg of the health department says confirmed cases have dropped.

“We had four positive yesterday and the day before, only one,” she said.

County Manager Phillip Barrier says he thinks it is important for more local people to get the shot but also he’s like to see visitors get in line too. There’s even talk, he says, of taking clinics to special events such as the Highland Games in July.

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