Mass vaccination clinic at Virginia Beach Convention Center closing Wednesday

Virginia Beach Convention Center .png
Posted at 2:16 PM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 17:13:50-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - After about five months, the mass vaccination clinic at the Convention Center is closing Wednesday.

Tens of thousands of people have been vaccinated since January, but recently demand has dwindled.

"I think we've reached the point where we see an abundance of vaccinations or places where individuals can go get vaccinations in the community, rather than needing to stand up large city supported sites such as the Convention Center," said Dr. Parham Jaberi, the acting director of the Virginia Beach Public Health District for VDH.

At one time, thousands of people were being vaccinated here per day, but those numbers have dropped to the 100s, Jaberi said.

"It was a great partnership. I think the community found it as an accessible, easy site to get ample parking. Overall it was one of the largest within the state in terms of number of vaccinated per capita, so we're quite proud of this endeavor," said Jaberi.

VDH says people can continue to get vaccinated at pharmacies and doctors' offices. They continue to help at some community sites, but the strategy is definitely shifting away from mass clinics. The clinic at Military Circle Mall in Norfolk also recently closed. There are discussions about opening a regional clinic in the future,

Still with new variants out there, VDH wants people who aren't vaccinated yet to continue to get shots.

"We really want to make sure as people people as possible are vaccinated, so that we don't see those upticks and cases don't surge here again later in the summer and in the fall," said Jaberi.

On Wednesday, the Convention Center was pretty empty, but still some continued to come by.

"I think it's pretty convenient when you can just walk in and they send you straight back," said Taylor Ruth, who received her second Pfizer shot.

Going forward, there are discussions about whether people will need booster shots in the future, so will clinics like this come back?

"We'll just have to wait and see," said Jaberi. "I think the experiences we've had over the last several months and standing up a vaccination site when no one in the community had been vaccinated - and our ability to do that - is only going to help should we need that response again in the fall."