NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A permanent vaccination clinic is now open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in Downtown Norfolk.
Sentara Healthcare opened the site at Scope Arena and says they’ve vaccinated around 1,400 over the past two days.
Heather Strock, a regional director for Sentara Healthcare, is working with the organization’s vaccine task force in an operational capacity for the clinics. She says they hosted two previous clinics in January and February.
“We have our second round of clinics. We’re creating a standard to have here every Tuesday and Wednesday. This here has been our launch to get started. We have a slow ramp-up. We hope to get 2,300 first doses and 2,300 second doses in a couple of weeks,” she said. “We’re just giving us some time to walk through the flow, moving as we wanted to move. We made some tweaks from our first time out here and fine-tuned the process. That’s what this is about.”
Appointments and walk-ups are open to those 16 and older in current phases, but appointments are recommended because there will be a maximum number of people they can vaccinate daily.
Strock says they’ll eventually have the capacity to vaccinate 5,000 people daily in a couple of weeks. They picked the Scope because of its accessibility for vulnerable communities as well as great parking.
“We had lots of options for locations. After talking with the city and health department, we thought this was the right choice to make this a permanent location,” she said.
Strock says they are receiving their vaccines from the health department and will soon allow residents to register through their own website for appointments.
“As of next week, we’ll have a new website launched that will have our different events based on city. Residents can directly schedule to help with that smooth easy process,” she said.
Being able to get people vaccinated has been a powerful experience for Strock, who says she’s worked on the front lines throughout the pandemic.
“To be able to serve our communities in this way, it brings Sentara so much joy. We’re grateful for our partnerships with various organizations in the city. We’re making Hampton Roads healthy. That’s what we want to do,” Strock said.
But, it takes work to put on these clinics.
Sentara is looking for both clinical and non-clinical volunteers including greeters, wheelchair assistance, and registration/check-in for those who come for vaccines.
“It takes 50 to 200 volunteers to run these clinics,” Strock said. “They’re grateful to be here whether they’re employees or community supporters and volunteers. We haven’t had one person upset because they’re here to change lives and that’s what they’re doing.”