Vaccines, testing & PPE: Nonprofits spread awareness of 2-day COVID-19 site in Richmond’s Northside

Second event slated for Sunday
Published: May. 22, 2021 at 7:19 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The parking lot of the 5th Street Baptist Church was turned Saturday into a one-stop-shop vaccination clinic aimed at easing access to the COVID-19 vaccine and other essential tools to battle the pandemic.

The event, which lasted from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., was made possible through a partnership with nonprofit organization Guardian Angels, and the Virginia Department of Health.

“All you need to do is come to us, and we’ll bring the testing to you,” Guardian Angels Regional Director Marcus Dent said.

Those who showed up were able to receive walk-up COVID-19 tests and antibody tests. Attendees could also choose to be vaccinated with either the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

At other stations, people could pick up personal protective equipment kits, hand sanitizer and even have their car disinfected with a spray that protects high-touched surfaces for up to a month.

“And it’s all free,” Dent said. “One of the best things is the education and awareness for what you have right here in this community and we realize that some people don’t have access to testing and vaccinations.”

But the issues volunteers faced Saturday wasn’t access or expense, it was getting people to show up.

“We reached out to the police department, the local politicians, the media, and the hardest part for most communities, when it comes to any kind of resource, is getting the word out,” Dent said.

Mike Damon, president of the Virginia branch of, says they were prepared to vaccinate up to 200 people.

“We want to make it easy for everyone to get that done and that’s what we pride ourselves on here at TestHere.Com,” Damon said.

Damon says moving forward, events like this will be even more crucial to communities as large-scale vaccination sites scale back operations.

“There is a lot of hesitancy out there, and a lot of it is getting people educated and understanding their options,” Damon said. “We also partner directly with the VDH, and they’ve reached out to us on multiple facets to reach out to these communities and help them get Virginia’s rates up as high as possible,” Damon said.

Although turnout Saturday wasn’t as high as they would have liked, Dent says his hope now is that word will get out by Sunday, so more people can take advantage of opportunities in their community.

“What we’re able to do as a community organization, and the first call is to bring the testing and the vaccinations to you.”

A second event will be held at the 5th Street Baptist Parking lot on Sunday, May 22 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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