NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – As the mass vaccination site at Military Circle Mall closed its doors, staff and volunteers say they took on a huge mission eight weeks ago to get Hampton Roads vaccinated.
The site gave out its last shots Saturday at 7 p.m. and FEMA staff say they’re pleased with the work they did to get over 83,000 people vaccinated, even as they confronted some challenges.
Site Manager Auvergene Larry says recent data shows a more diverse group of people has been coming in to get vaccinated, which was one of their main targeted outreach goals.
“We’re still showing the diversity we’re getting in from that,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of Asian people in the past couple of days coming in that I’ve noticed, and a lot of Black and brown people from those communities as well.”
Aside from reaching diverse communities, the other challenges included confronting vaccine hesitancy, developing outreach strategies and dispelling misinformation about the vaccines.
“I think what really worked was us going into those communities, setting up those smaller clinics so people could go where they feel safe,” she said.
16-year-old Olivia Levy of Norfolk got her second shot of Pfizer Saturday and said she signed up to get vaccinated the second she turned 16.
“I want to feel safe. I feel more comfortable with having friends that are vaccinated,” she said.
Getting vaccinated was the way for her to see her friends safely and return to somewhat normalcy.
“People are just getting sick and dying and I’m tired of it,” she said. “I don’t want it anymore. I’m ready for normalcy and I just want everybody to get it.”
FEMA officials say they’ll continue working with some school districts to get students 12 and older vaccinated in the coming weeks as well.