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Kanawha-Charleston Health Department to hold more sensory sensitive clinic Friday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department (KCHD) and the Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority (KCEAA) is set to hold a unique COVID-19 vaccination event for those with autism and other developmental disorders from around the state.

Dr. Sherri Young

KCHD and KCEAA’s partnership with Community Autism and Education Systems (CARES) and Autism Services Center will bring the event to the Bible Center Church in Charleston on Friday.

Dr. Sherri Young, health officer and executive director of the KCHD told MetroNews the event will be more sensory sensitive than the traditional mass clinic event.

“We are making it quiet, low wait time, low noise. It’s a more stimuli clinic that will be in a living room type room that is not as clinical. It won’t have the bright lights, lots of noise and lots of people,” Young said.

The clinic is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bible Center Church, on 100 Bible Center Dr. A second-dose clinic is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, May 28 at Bible Center Church.

It is open to anyone in the state with these developmental disorders and their families. The event is accepting walk-in patients.

Young said there will be options for these individuals and their families.

“At the preference of the families and the caregivers, they can be vaccinated in their car outside if they feel like that is a safer and more comfortable environment. Also, we have a special section of the Bible Center Church that is very comfortable and very low-key,” Young said.

Representatives from Autism Services Center and CARES will provide training to clinic staff prior to the event. Young said Sam Walker Mathews, a volunteer at the mass clinic, came up with the idea.

“It’s been an honor to do the training and learn more about autism and other disabilities. Even as a healthcare provider, there are still things that I learned about dealing with these individuals that will carry on with me in my career,” Young said.

She added that any number of vaccinations on Friday is a success. She said the event is bringing much-needed awareness.

“We hope to vaccinate a couple hundred people tomorrow. If we don’t, at least we have brought attention to the need. If we need to, we will hold another clinic and hold as many clinics as we need to,” she said.

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