NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — More shots in more arms is the idea of a beefed-up vaccination clinic at Military Circle Mall. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam made the announcement during a Wednesday morning visit that the site will now be a FEMA mass-vaccination clinic.
The center opened at full capacity for appointments on Wednesday, with a capacity of 3,000 vaccinations a day. It’s located in the former Macy’s store at 880 North Military Highway.
The head of one of Norfolk’s civic leagues says Military Circle’s iconic location will make it much easier for people to get their shots.
“It narrows the choices of where to go,” said Larry Skyles, president of the Beacon Light Civic League. “We don’t have to know where a Revco is somewhere across the city or a Walgreens somewhere down around the way. We know where Military Circle is.”
Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Newport News) wanted to reinforce that there is no charge for the vaccine, but it won’t make a difference if you don’t get it.
“As the doctors say, vaccines don’t protect people, vaccinations protect people.”
One of the residents who came was Polina Bulygina from Ghent who was getting her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
“It was definitely very important for me, not just for myself, but everybody in my family, my friends as well, just trying to do whatever I can,” she said. She will return in three weeks to get her second shot.
Northam is especially encouraged by news that the Pfizer vaccine is now suitable for children age 12 and up.
“In order to get to herd immunity, not only do we need to get the majority of our adults vaccinated, but we have to do our children as well,” he said.
Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Virginia Beach) says she’s very excited by Pfizer’s news.
“My daughter is 11 and about to turn 12. Personally, I will sign her up as soon as it is available to do that for children,” Luria said.
“We need to get herd immunity going, and get everything to open up and get back on track,” said resident John Grace, who was getting his vaccination and playing his part in trying to turn the corner on the pandemic.
During his visit, Northam toured the site and held a media availability.
Northam’s visit was not open to the public. The clinic is also vaccinating people by appointment only.
The vaccine site is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency through a partnership with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Health and Human Services (HHS), Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), Virginia Department of Health, (VDH) and the City of Norfolk.
The city had already been using the mall as a vaccination site since early February, but that was run by state and local health authorities.
The Macy’s site is one of several similar sites in Virginia, with others in Portsmouth, Petersburg, etc. The federal government has said the spot was selected due to its central location and other criteria such as socioeconomic status, minority status, languages, etc.
If you want to get the vaccine, you must register at https://vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 1-877-VAX-IN VA (1-877-829-4682), 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. If you’re eligible, you’ll be contacted for an appointment.