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One of the busiest vaccination sites in Virginia is closing

Richmond Raceway COVID Vaccine Last DAy .png
Posted at 11:58 AM, May 28, 2021

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- The Richmond Raceway, once one of the busiest vaccination sites in the state, will close its doors Thursday after its 66th mass clinic due to low demand for the COVID vaccine.

The site has been open since January, pushing over 160,000 doses of the vaccine into people's arms.

Michelle Cosel has been on the frontlines of the vaccine clinic since its beginning in the Old Dominion Building at the raceway.

"We’ve used approximately 14,000 resources, and we’ve totaled approximately 110,000 personnel hours out here," she said.

Richmond Raceway Vaccine Clinic Incident Commander Zach Zellner
Richmond Raceway Vaccine Clinic Incident Commander Zach Zellner

Richmond Raceway Vaccine Clinic Incident Commander Zach Zellner said more than 1,000 volunteers and workers staffed the clinic.

"We had days where we had more than 400 on site," Zellner recalled.

Led by officials with Henrico County, church volunteers provided meals while members of the National Guard and contractors provided crowd control.

Nurse Margaret Nuckols with Henrico County Public Schools.
Nurse Margaret Nuckols with Henrico County Public Schools.

Nurse on Henrcio mass vaccination clinic: 'It's been historical'

Margaret Nuckols, a school nurse for Henrico County Public Schools, led efforts handling and administering the vaccines.

"It's been phenomenal. It's been historical," Nuckols reflected. "The elderly, we started with them getting vaccinated, and them leaving emotional because they would get to see their grandchildren at Easter."

Brooke Furcron
Brooke Furcron

People like Brooke Furcron, who went from intern to a full-time position while still managing a full course load at VCU, worked on the logistical or IT side of things.

"This is one of the biggest operations, you know, that most people have ever worked in their careers and to be starting out with this," Furcron said. "It's something that I'll be able to take with me... Everybody has worked so hard."

Zellner also pointed out that one of the clinic's additional benefits, beyond administering the vaccine, was training more people in emergency management should the need arise in the future.

Cosel called the clinic's final day bittersweet.

"I’m excited that we’re getting past this endeavor, but I'm kind of sad at the same time," Cosel added.

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Final day of the mass vaccination clinic at Richmond Raceway Thursday, May 27, 2021.

Woman: Getting vaccinated was 'very efficient, quick'

Kathy Fields was one of many who stopped by Thursday morning, to get her second dose of the vaccine at the raceway's infield garage.

"This was very efficient, quick, no wait times," Fields said. “It feels good to have it all over and done with.”

Margi Whitney said Thursday she was "grateful" and "thankful" after being inoculated.

As vaccine workers hand out their final doses here at the raceway, Fields, like many others, is looking forward to her first dose of overdue freedom.

“Vacation, vacation, vacation," Fields said.

Health leaders with Richmond and Henrico Health District said people can sign up through pharmacies, doctors or grocery stores if they need somewhere else to get vaccinated or get their second dose.

For a list of locations, click here.