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West Virginia Casino Offering Slots, Table Games, Sportsbook, and Vaccines

A casino in West Virginia is offering guests all of its traditional gambling games, but also the chance to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Workers are seen performing their duties at the COVID-19 drive-thru vaccine clinic in the parking garage of the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. People from outside West Virginia can now receive their doses at the facility. (Image: Herald-Mail)

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races is one of the many casinos across the country that has volunteered some of its resort space to serve its community as a COVID-19 vaccination site. But this week, the mass vaccination clinic announced that people outside the state can receive their shots at the casino drive-thru facility, too.

Appointments are required, but anyone aged 16 and older can make one. Times are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8 am to 8 pm. 

The vaccination clinic is being facilitated by WVU Medicine. Currently, doses of the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being offered. 

Demand for Vaccine Slowing

According to data supplied by the state, 29 percent of West Virginia’s adult population is fully vaccinated. Another 42 percent have received at least one dose. That ranks in the middle of the pack of the 50 states. 

[The] focus ought to always be on West Virginia first and foremost. But we do have additional vaccine now, and surely we have people traveling back and forth and coming in and out of jobs and stuff like that. We’d like them to be vaccinated,” said West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R). 

The open-to-all vaccine clinic is being advertised in a variety of ways, including on social media, television, and billboards along the heavily traveled Interstate 81. While the marketing spots do include the Hollywood Casino location information, they do not push gambling. 

The clinic says residents from six states have already received vaccine doses at the casino site. They were residents of nearby Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Maryland, but also came from as far away as New York and even California. 

“We know our neighbors in surrounding states are struggling, so we’ve opened our borders to allow them to receive their vaccine,” explained Donnie Grubb, Berkeley Medical Center’s trauma program manager who is overseeing the clinic. “We have the availability to do that.”

Vaccines Critical

Grubb said the objective is to get enough people fully vaccinated so herd immunity is realized and the country can get back to some sense of normal.

Vaccine hesitation, however, which is seeming to grow in some parts of the country, could be lengthening the odds of herd immunity coming anytime soon. 

A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a nonprofit that focuses on health care issues facing the nation, says the United States is expected to run out of adults who wish to become vaccinated within the next two to four weeks. 

“It appears we are quite close to the tipping point where demand for, rather than supply of vaccines, is our primary challenge,” the review concluded. 

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