Patience is the cure for parents’ frustration at back to school vax clinic


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The Chesapeake Health Department has held walk-in back-to-school vaccination clinics before, but none like the one Wednesday evening.

Turnout was far greater than expected, and tense parents began to vent their frustrations on health care workers.

“People were just frustrated, and when people are scared and frustrated, it’s just anger and it manifests to the person standing there,” said department Public Relations Director Kimi Stevens.

Workers had to enforce social distancing, and many had to wait outside with the heat index hovering around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Stevens says about a hundred people had shown up even before the clinic started at 4:30 p.m. that hot day. They started to take out their frustrations on the staff.

“Everybody was just grouchy. So, it was just a contentious night but that’s okay, we understand. We’re parents too. Just take a deep breath, everybody, and we’ll make sure we take care of your kids,” Stevens said.

The department says a tough summer with COVID-19 on the rise had a lot of parents waiting until the last minute to get the required shots. Add to the mix the supply of the meningitis vaccine ran out at several clinics so some parents went on a waiting list.

But Stevens says there’s no need to panic.

“There is no shortage. The only issue that we came to on Wednesday evening was just a matter of supply in-house, and not just us, but all the districts,” Stevens said.

Chesapeake will hold another walk-in school vaccination clinic Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., but making an appointment is the better bet if it’s workable. Chesapeake will have appointment clinics Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week.

The Virginia Department of Health requires several vaccinations for students entering kindergarten, seventh and twelfth grades.

Click here for more information on the upcoming Chesapeake back-to-school vaccination clinic.

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