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What the U.S. Can Learn About Health Care From This West Virginia County’s Successful Vaccine Rollout


“Hi, sweetie,” Dr. Sherri Young says to the 13-year-old rolling up her sleeve and giggling nervously, who also happens to be her daughter. “Are you ready?” 

Young uncaps a syringe and pokes it into her daughter’s waiting arm. It’s May 14, only a few days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration greenlighted the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 12-to-15-year-olds, and Young is trying to set an example. As health officer and executive director of West Virginia’s Kanawha-Charleston Health Department (KCHD), she wants other families to bring their children to community vaccine clinics like this one, a drive-through set up in a church parking lot a few miles outside downtown Charleston. 

Throughout the day, dozens of cars—ranging from a battle-tested garbage truck to a brand-new Mercedes sedan—roll in to the drive-through clinic. KCHD is relying on these smaller-scale pop-up clinics to bring in people who were unable or unwilling to visit Charleston’s 17 mass-vaccination events held throughout the winter and spring.  

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