HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Henrico County hosted the region’s first mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic as multiple jurisdictions partnered to inoculate first responders and educators.
About 1,300 Virginians received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at the Richmond Raceway on Wednesday, according to Henrico Chief of Emergency Management and Workplace Safety Jackson Baynard.
“We want to get to everyone,” Baynard said. “We are working hand-in-hand in a unified command with the health department. We are together in this with our local health districts to meet the need of the community.”
That unified command allowed for some residents of Goochland County, Henrico, Chesterfield and Richmond in Phase 1B to get their vaccines.
Out of the 1,300 appointments made for the Richmond Raceway on Wednesday, only three people missed or canceled their spot in line. Baynard said that fact demonstrates the great demand for the vaccine.
Baynard and his team planned to vaccinate about 4,000 people across three days. But he admitted that they could do more.
“We can increase our capability to 3,000 per 12-hour period. It’s just the vaccine supply is one of the limited factors at this point,” Baynard explained.
Dr. Daniel Carey, the state’s Secretary of Health and Human Resources, provided House lawmakers with his office's 2021 goals on Tuesday. He said the demand largely outpaces the number of doses-on-hand.
“At the current rate of [receiving] 100,000 doses-per-week, just to get Phase 1B would take through the end of this year. We know we want more and more vaccine and the federal government has indicated they will. But, they will not have it before March at the earliest,” Carey explained.
Any new doses of the COVID-19 vaccine would arrive from the production line and not a stockpile, Carey said.
“We are going to do our best to make sure the only limiting factor is us providing vaccines is vaccine availability,” Baynard stated.
The Richmond Raceway will host additional clinics through Friday and resume next week. But Baynard stressed that the clinics scheduled so far are not open to the general public and appointment only. The general public should receive additional information on upcoming clinics next week, according to state and local officials.
CBS6 stopped by the Old Dominion Building when many of Hanover County’s educators and staff were receiving their shot in the arm.
Carol Leimann and Melissa Luchau have both worked inside their respective school buildings since the Fall.
“We’ve really come together and support each other,” said Melissa Luchau, a counselor. “It’s wonderful to be with the kids and to be able to support them through such a challenging time. But it’s stressful to make sure I stay healthy and support the people around me.”
Second-grade teacher Leimann said most of her colleagues expressed excitement to get their dose.
“I'm teaching in the classroom and I know that’ll be another level of protection for me,” she explained.
But Luchau acknowledge that the fight against the coronavirus hasn’t stopped.
“I want to make sure I get my second dose and follow all of the procedures, but I feel like I'm taking a positive first step,” she said.