Vaccine leaves Magoffin County leaders hopeful as COVID cases rise


“I think the vaccine is the game changer for this,” said Salyersville Mayor, James Shepherd.

Mayor of Salyersville and Director of the Magoffin County Health Department, James Shepherd, was the first in the city to get the vaccine.

“I just wanted to send out, hopefully, an example that this vaccine is safe, and everybody does need it. We did get all of our healthcare workers in Magoffin County all vaccinated. And 90 something percent of our first responders.”

While a smaller county with a population of around 13,000 people, Shepherd said about 60 percent of the community has said they do want the vaccine.

“We’ve already started on doing some of our 70 and older, which is great I thought. But now we’ve been asked to kind of slowed down until larger areas can get caught up with their vaccines.”

Shepherd said cases were moderate in the county for a while. Then about December 1st, they started hitting the double digits of positive cases daily, pushing them into the red zone.

“A lot of our big weeks were cases where there were big church services and people weren’t wearing masks. And some social functions that people went to and they weren’t wearing masks.”

Shepherd said people weren’t getting tested as much during the holidays, either. Now that testing has ramped up again, the number of cases has also increased with 47 cases this past week.

“I know we’re going to be kind of on the low end of getting vaccines, but as quick as they can get them to us, we can get them out.”

Shepherd said they’re very fortunate to have only had one death from the virus so far.

He said they have had many people hospitalized and on ventilators.

Further encouraging the community to continue to wear masks, social distance and be patient, while waiting for a vaccination. Hopeful to have everyone who wants the vaccine vaccinated by May.

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