City of Suffolk, health department working to bring mass vaccination sites to residents

COVID-19 Vaccine

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The City of Suffolk is making strides in their efforts to get people vaccinated.

As the state ramps up supply with the addition of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the city is working to expand access.

At Wednesday’s city council meeting, city officials said community mass vaccination sites are in the works and they’re also focusing on equitable distribution.

As of March 1, more than 15,500 doses have been administered in Suffolk.

It’s progress that state vaccine coordinator Dr. Danny Avula hopes to expand on statewide now that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is on the market.

“As we look forward to the end of March, beginning of April, we should be getting — including first and second doses — somewhere around 500,000 doses a week. That will quickly ramp up in April to about 650,000 doses a week,” Avula said.

City officials are coordinating with the Western Tidewater Health District and the Virginia Department of Health to request resources for community mass vaccination sites.

“With a capacity of doing 1,000 vaccines a day for up to three months so we’re looking at a couple of hotel facilities in Suffolk to do two of those,” said Brian Spicer, deputy chief of Technical Services in Suffolk.

Health department officials are also partnering with the Suffolk Coalition of Black Pastors to increase equity.

According to Health District Director Dr. Lauren James, more than 4,900 people in the white community have received at least one dose compared to about 2,700 in the Black, Latino and Asian communities.

“We have to have some kind of equity, some way of getting this changed,” said Councilman Leroy Bennett.

Officials said at least two locations for the mass vaccination sites will be in the northern and southern parts of the city.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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