PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — With the Johnson & Johnson one-shot dose on its way to Riverside Health, the head of the NAACP in Gloucester is hopeful her community will move closer to the front of the vaccine line.
“They are at higher risk of getting the disease and we all know the statistics. [Minorities have] higher hospitalizations and higher deaths,” said Brenda Dixon.
However, Riverside Health officials say a Johnson & Johnson vaccination clinic set for Saturday in Hampton Roads is for front-line medical workers only.
“Based on the arrival, we have partnered with the Peninsula Health district to schedule a one-day event for those 1a health workers that may yet not have had an opportunity for whatever reason to get their vaccine,” said Cindy Williams, vice president and chief pharmacy officer for Riverside Health System.
With a limited initial delivery of Johnson & Johnson vaccines, Riverside says the state is in the process of prioritizing certain groups who could have difficulty getting a second Pfizer or Moderna shot.
“I anticipate when we are getting a routine allocation of Johnson & Johnson [vacines] the state will provide us some guidance on the population that they deem most appropriate,” said Williams.
Riverside continues to schedule focused vaccination clinics in underserved communities in partnership with organizations such as An Achievable Dream Academy and a network of Black churches.
“We have found that many of those individuals do not have internet access, so we have set up a network using community partners including Achievable Dream and local faith-based groups in order to assist us with getting those registrations done. We were able to immunize 450 individuals last Saturday through this clinic and we are anticipating a similar number this Saturday. These are two-dose clinics,'” said Williams.
Last month, Riverside Walter Reed Hospital inoculated 150 Black patients from Gloucester and surrounding areas. Many who received the two-dose vaccine have comorbidities and no access to computers.
“We have transportation issues, elderly mobility issues. It’s a one-time dose. We have a beautiful facility here. We need to step up, Riverside. I hope they hear this challenge and hear this plea,” said Dixon.
Dixon has a waiting list with another 80 high-risk patients that she has to call one at a time to set up appointments for vaccinations.
WAVY-TV is waiting for more information from the governor’s office on the Johnson & Johnson rollout.
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