Efforts being made to boost vaccinations in Norfolk

Posted at 3:07 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 16:42:58-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Just over 14,500 people have been vaccinated in the City of Norfolk with one dose per 100,000 people, which is the lowest in Hampton Roads, according to data from the Virginia Department of Health.

Now, there are efforts to boost those numbers. State Health Commissioner Dr. Norm Oliver said teams will be going into the community in order to get people signed up and vaccinated. "We will be working with FEMA in the site that's being set up in Norfolk, and we will spread out these teams throughout the city and elsewhere in the city to help bring those most burdened," Oliver said Tuesday.

A big boost appears to be on the way. In a letter to city council last week, Norfolk Director of Emergency Preparedness Jim Redick told city council members FEMA would soon set up a clinic at Military Circle Mall capable of vaccinating 3,000 people a day, seven days a week. A spokesperson for the city didn't provide any additional details Wednesday.

If that comes to fruition, Norfolk could get through its pre-registration backlog in two weeks at that pace, Redick wrote.

The key for health officials is getting people signed up. "We've put boots on the ground in all 35 of our health districts, and those teams are doing your basic sort of community organizing type of work - door to door, working with faith-based communities," said Oliver.

In addition, pharmacies have expanded who they are vaccinating to all of group 1b, also aiding the vaccination process. "I think the pharmacies will continue to work with the health departments to work through the 1b population, and as we see more and more districts to move into 1c we'll ask the pharmacies to open up to 1c," said Dr. Danny Avula, the State Vaccine Coordinator.

Click here for our full COVID vaccination guide.