VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — An empty box store that once was home to a Toys R Us near Lynnhaven Mall could become the next community vaccination center in Virginia Beach.
Efforts are underway to do the same at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton and the old Ferguson Shared Services Center on Warwick Boulevard in Newport News.
Erin Sutton, chief deputy and state coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management said they’re aiming to open the clinics soon.
“I am not going to confirm the dates because things have to line up, but the time frame we are looking at is towards the end of April,” she said.
Sutton doesn’t like to confirm exact dates because openings have been slid back due to lack of vaccine.
“We are doing walk-throughs to make sure all the locations line up, but right now, those are the locations we have been in discussion with.”
All three community vaccination center sites will be set up to mirror the efforts now underway at the Portsmouth SportsPlex.
“We want to make sure we are capturing the underserved populations, and not only Black and brown populations, but [the] Hispanic and low-income population that [doesn’t] always have access to care.”
The centers are part of the AshBritt-IEM Health partnerships branching out across Virginia.
“As the state is shifting into Phase 2 and opening up, we want to make sure we have locations for folks to get vaccinated,” Sutton said.
Sutton urges all to register on the Virginia Department of Health website and come prepared — especially if you are elderly.
“We have had some situations where sometimes there are some lines. We want to make sure they are bringing their walkers or canes, wheelchairs, and they are taking their daily medications that they normally do. We want to make sure they are eating and that they are drinking water and staying hydrated,” she said.
As more vaccination sites open hopefully later this month, Sutton says the goal is to achieve herd immunity.
We need 70-75% of people vaccinated for herd immunity, which will help limit the number of COVID-19 cases in the community.
Herd immunity is essential, and everyone needs to participate, Sutton said.
“The sooner we can get to herd immunity, the quicker we can get back to our norm — our new norm, not the old norm. We need our new normal in all of our communities,” she said.