Vaccine clinic at Arthur Ashe Center to close by end of April

Virginia sees minimal impact from J&J vaccine pause

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Arthur Ashe Center will stop as a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the end of April. Richmond and Henrico Health Districts announced it will take vaccines on the road starting in May.

The shift in strategy comes as RHHD enters phase two for COVID-19 vaccinations. Shots will continue at Richmond Raceway, but starting next month the health districts will operate four community hubs.

“It’s important for us to shift our model here into community hubs as we know one, our values of equity and transparency and access, that that’s important,” said Amy Popovich, RHHD Nurse Manager.

One is already running at George Wythe High School in south Richmond. Three other sites have been identified, including one each in the east end and west end of Henrico County.

Exact locations will be announced once details are finalized. Each will operate one day a week for now.

“Additionally we’ve heard from our neighbors that transportation can be a barrier, time off from work can be a barrier,” said Popovich.

With the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on pause, the health district says it’s seeing a minimal impact. Fewer than 1,000 people have to be rescheduled over the next week.

“While it is concerning to hear this information, we do know that it is a helpful time to stop and review to ensure residents are getting very safe vaccines,” said Popovich.

The vaccine clinic running at Arthur Ashe Center is full of appointments. Health officials say they haven’t seen a rush of cancellations locally, and the state’s vaccine coordinator says the same state-wide.

“We’ve not seen it impact people’s willingness or desire to get vaccinated, and hopefully moving forward that won’t affect anybody’s desire to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Danny Avula, State Vaccine Coordinator.

Dr. Avula expects to get a better feel of how the public feels about vaccines after the federal government explores the Johnson & Johnson issue, which is no longer being used here in Virginia.

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