Businesses host COVID-19 vaccination event as health district launches ‘Cool Cube Crew’

Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 5:51 PM EDT
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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - As mass vaccination sites close down in the metro-Richmond area, local health districts are still looking at ways of increasing the vaccination rate.

On Thursday, the Richmond and Henrico Health District opened the registration for the “Cool Cube Crews.”

Essentially, the idea is to have a business, church or even a block party reserve a vaccine crew at its event.

One business is already jumping on a similar opportunity.

“We get generally at least 100 but at most about 300 people,” said Navi Johnson, founder of RVA Black Farmers Market.

Established in 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, Johnson teamed up with UTurn in Henrico to find a way for people to shop local while helping with vaccination efforts.

“Next Saturday is the first time we’re offering the COVID vaccine,” said Faith Sykes, Guest Service Coordinator for UTurn.

On June 12 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., a crew will be on-site administering COVID-19 vaccines.

Hey Richmond!! We are so EXCITED to be back at @uturn_rva NEXT SATURDAY June 12th from 9am-1pm! We’ll have live music...

Posted by rvablackfarmersmarket on Friday, June 4, 2021

“It gives people the opportunity for people who may be too busy any other time to get vaccinated for free,” Johnson said. “We have all the vaccinations that are going to be here, all three of them - Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson.”

It’s an effort the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts are also pushing through its “Cool Cube Crews.”

“We’re breaking up our model where instead of having, say 12 nurses at one location, we can now have four teams of three and be at four different locations,” said Cat Long, spokeswoman for the health districts.

The name comes from the cool cube used to keep the vaccines at the proper temperature.

This opportunity will also be an educational effort.

“It gives an opportunity to meet a real-life nurse in person,” Long said. “Even if they don’t get vaccinated by the Cool Cube Crew, they can ask the Cool Cube Crew their questions. We’re hoping this just really eliminates both the access gap and information gap.”

That is part of why Johnson and Sykes wanted to include a vaccine section at the event.

“I think it’s a community effort,” Sykes said. “The more businesses in the community that we live in or work in help, it will help with the numbers, and help with the spread going down. We just want to help the community.”

While RVA Black Farmers Market is working with the Virginia Department of Health to put on its vaccination event, those who want to reserve a Cool Cube Crew can click here.

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