‘We need to be everywhere people are,’ local pastor uses mass transit for mass vaccinations


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Tuesday afternoons through the month of August, no appointment needed COVID-19 vaccines will be administered at the Downtown Norfolk Transit Center.

The non-traditional clinics are the product of a partnership involving Hampton Roads Transit, Sentara, and Second Calvary Baptist Church. Pastor Geoffrey Guns says his inspiration for the location comes from the book of Matthew, chapter 4, verses 23-25.

No pulpit needed, Guns delivered this message during an interview at the Norfolk center. “We need to be wherever people are. If they are riding the bus we need to be there; if they are at the grocery stores we need to be there; at the playground we need to be there,” said Guns as he watched passengers board buses a few hours before the start of the clinic.

Passenger Edna Moore offered the pastor a resounding “Amen.”

“That’s a very, very good idea because a lot of people come here to this transit center every day,” said Moore who added a lot of them are unvaccinated.

Prepared to proselytize the vaccination, Guns approached passengers who were awaiting a bus connection. After a friendly chat with Louis Simpson, it appears Guns found another arm waiting for a shot.

“I think it would be a good idea because everyone needs it; because it’s very important. I’ve not been vaccinated but I intend to and I’m going to go ahead and do it,” said Simpson, who proudly stopped to pose for a photograph with Guns.

Similar clinics will be held this month at the transit centers in Hampton and Newport News.

Guns is spreading the word with urgency. According to the Virginia Department of Health, COVID-19 hospitalizations are up fourfold from a month ago and the Hampton Roads infection rate has soared past 12%.

“See listen, the reality is no one is safe as long as there is one unvaccinated individual in our city and in our community; We all need to be vaccinated.”

Paston Guns has identified another opportunity to get shots in arms. He is reaching out to local funeral directors.

“I’ve talked to [Mayor] Kenny Alexander of Metropolitan [Funeral Home]. I talked to the Graves family [funeral home] about hosting vaccination clinics at the funeral homes when there are wakes. If negotiations are successful, the first vaccination wake could take place later this month.”

10 On Your Side will keep you updated.

Sentara is partnering with some other organizations for vaccine clinics as well. Here are the locations:

Virginia Beach Oceanfront, 31st Street Stage
Wednesday, August 4 & Wednesday, August 31
5 – 8 p.m.

Hampton Roads Transit – Downtown Norfolk Transit Center
434 St. Paul’s Blvd, Norfolk
Every Tuesday in August
3 – 5 p.m.

Hampton Roads Transit – Hampton Transit Center
2 West Pembroke Ave, Hampton
Every Thursday in August
3 – 5 p.m.

Hampton Roads Transit – Newport News Transit Center
150 35th Street, Newport News
Every Friday in August
3 – 5 p.m.

Thomas Nelson Community College – Hampton Campus
99 Thomas Nelson Drive, Hampton
Monday, August 23 & Tuesday, August 24
12 – 2 p.m.

Thomas Nelson Community College – Historic Triangle Campus
4601 Opportunity Way, Williamsburg
Wednesday, August 25 & Thursday, August 26
12 – 2 p.m.

Virginia Beach Oceanfront – Funk Fest @ 24th Street
Friday, August 27 & Saturday, August 28
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

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