‘We have a long way to go’: Sen. Kaine tours Salem COVID-19 vaccination site

VDH launched a new system Tuesday to get more people signed up for the COVID vaccine

SALEM, Va. – We appear to be heading in the right direction in the Roanoke Valley with positive signs on both COVID-19 vaccines and coronavirus case count, according to area health leaders.

More shots went into arms on Tuesday, marking signs of hope in the coronavirus pandemic.

Many people, including Sen. Tim Kaine, agree the process could be much better, “I think there’s just still too much randomness and some of that may still be because of not quite enough supply,” said Kaine.

[Here’s how to pre-register for the COVID vaccine in Virginia]

He toured the vaccination site at the Salem Civic Center on Tuesday to get a better feel for how distribution is going.

He said he’s proud of Virginia’s work so far and wants to see a more centralized process to help things run more smoothly.

“We have a long way to go and a lot of people still left to vaccinate,” Kaine said.

VDH launched a new system Tuesday to get more people signed up for clinics. The goal is to make the sign-up process easier, after what Dr. Cynthia Morrow, the director of the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, acknowledges has been a frustrating process so far.

“Because it will be a centralized process, it should be easier for people to get pre-registered so we’re hopeful that this is going to really help alleviate some of the frustration that people have experienced in trying to get pre-registered for vaccine,” said Morrow.

Kaine said he’s doing his part to help with that too by taking what he learns in Salem to hearings on Capitol Hill next week to confirm President Joe Biden’s top health officials.

“This is going to help me formulate good questions but also sort of demands. We should be able to do this or that better,” Kaine said. “We want to get as quickly as we can to the point where the maximum number of people have been vaccinated because then everything will start to get better.”

Health experts said we’re heading in the right direction in the Roanoke Valley, but we’re not out of the woods yet.

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