First COVID-19 shots given at new clinic site in Suffolk

COVID-19 Vaccine

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — In, out and halfway vaccinated in about 30 minutes: The newest community vaccination center located in Suffolk gave out the first COVID-19 shots on Tuesday.

This is the first fixed location for a vaccination clinic in the Western Tidewater Health District. The clinic, located the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Suffolk, is open Monday to Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“That consistency and being able to have that resource here in the community that they know well is just a great, great opportunity,” said Dr. Lauren James, the acting director of the Western Tidewater Health District.

Organizers say the clinic will give out 250 shots a day of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Appointments are open to residents of the Western Tidewater Health District, which includes Southampton County, Isle of Wight County, Franklin and Suffolk.

“The progress has been nothing short of phenomenal, in my opinion, as to where we were and where we are today,” said Suffolk Mayor Mike Duman.

10 On Your Side spoke with Laytona Williams right after she got her shot Tuesday morning. She said it couldn’t have been easier.

“It went, fine, it went well. Very easy,” said Williams.

The clinic was set up by the Commonwealth of Virginia in partnership with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Virginia Department of Health, and the Western Tidewater Health District.

When deciding where to place these types of clinics, state officials say they’re focusing on the top 20% most vulnerable populations in Virginia.

This includes “people of color, people who have low income, people who have trouble getting to places,” explained Bruce Sterling, the regional coordinator of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

People we spoke with Tuesday said the downtown location at the Hilton Garden Inn works great.

“I like this location,” said Suffolk resident Kristen Cote. “Originally, they wanted me to go all the way up to Harborview and so for me living in downtown Suffolk, this was very convenient. It’s very organized, plenty of parking and not too bad of a congested area.”

To register, you can get an appointment on the VDH website. Officials are asking people to arrive at their appointments no more than 20 minutes early. This helps ensure an easy flow of vaccinations.

The community vaccination clinic in Suffolk was set up by the state in partnership with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Virginia Department of Health, and the Western Tidewater Health District.

The Suffolk clinic is scheduled to run for 45 days, there is the potential to expand if necessary. 

This location will administer both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

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