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As COVID-19 surges, the first doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived in the county and vaccinations are underway. The Smith County Health Department received approximately 100 doses of the vaccine around 9 a.m., Monday. Meanwhile, in a prepared statement, Monday, Riverview Regional Medical Center said it had not received any vaccines, but was to receive the first doses the “week of December 28” for its staff. The vaccine is being administered to first responders, police and medical employees.

Of those who met the criteria to receive the vaccine, approximately 10 people showed up to get vaccinated at the county health department, around 1 p.m. Monday. First, health department employees took data from individuals while waiting for the vaccine to thaw. The vaccine is stored frozen and takes about 15 minutes to thaw at room temperature. Individuals were vaccinated in their vehicles. Those taking the vaccine Monday will have to return in about 28 days for a second shot. The health department was anticipating administering more vaccinations on Wednesday for those who meet the criteria to be first to receive the vaccine. Gordonsville Police Chief Shannon Hunt, who chose to be vaccinated, said all but one of his officers was taking the vaccine. A few weeks ago, the chief said he missed about two weeks of work after contracting the virus and becoming sick.

The vaccine arrives in the midst of what medical officials have labeled the “post Thanksgiving” surge in COVID-19 cases.