Henrico hosts second walk-up COVID-19 vaccination event

Health districts changing methods as vaccine supply outpaces the demand

Henrico hosts second walk-up COVID-19 vaccination event

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - According to the Virginia Vaccine Coordinator, there is enough supply available to vaccinate as many people as possible, but the demand is dropping significantly.

More than 30% of the Commonwealth is fully vaccinated, per data released Friday.

However, a drop in registrations has left local health district revising their ways of getting shots into arms.

On Thursday, Richmond & Henrico Health District spokeswoman Cat Long said the supply and demand for a COVID-19 vaccine were starting to even out. It is why on Friday the clinic at the Richmond Raceway opened to walk-ups.

Cars flooded the parking lot outside the Old Dominion Building where many, including Jacob Nichols, took advantage of Friday’s walk-up opportunity.

“My grandparents up in Tennessee are older and I want to go and visit them eventually,” Nichols said.

No registration - no problem! That was the feeling for many in the building, especially those who have had issues finding appointments.

“Yeah, it has; it’s been very difficult to schedule an appointment online and everything else,” said Jacqueline Jackson.

Jackson heard about the walk-up event on the news. Not long after the doors opened, she received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

“I thank God that I’m here and that I can do this,” she said. “Other people, they need to come and do this too.”

Typically, the Raceway clinic can administer 5,000 shots per day.

However, Zach Zellner, the Incident Commander for the Richmond Raceway Vaccination Event, said they have started to see a decrease in the number of registrations.

“There’s also been an increase in community partners,” Zellner said.

On April 25, the county held its first walk-up vaccination event focused on helping residents who are refugees, immigrants and minorities.

“Whereas it would have been very difficult to get an appointment at a pharmacy a few weeks ago, that vaccine availability is making it easier for people to get it in multiple different ways,” Zellner said.

So, it has left health districts looking at different clinic setups.

“[We’re] kind of switching over to a walk-up with registration as well to give the community as much access to the vaccine as possible,” Zellner said.

It is also why smaller community vaccination hubs are popping up across the area.

These opportunities giving folks like Nichols the chance to focus on the future and seeing family.

“Give them a big hug,” he said. “I just can’t wait to see them.”

Henrico County Emergency Manager Jackson Baynard noted that earlier this week, the county began a mobile vaccination effort – giving shots to disabled, homebound residents.

Meanwhile, Baynard added starting in May, the clinic at the Raceway will only be open two days per week; on top of people who are already registered, it will be open for walk-ups.

Since January, more than 140,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered at the Richmond Raceway. Nearly 45% of Henrico County’s residents have received at least one dose – a rate which leads Virginia’s 10 largest localities.

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