VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – COVID-19 vaccination efforts are being ramped up to help stop the spread of the virus.
The Virginia Beach Department of Public Health has opened a mass vaccination site at the convention center to speed up the number of shots in people’s arms.
Briana Bain is a physical therapist who was one of 750 health care workers Thursday rolling up her sleeve for the shot.
“It wasn’t bad,” said Bain. “I usually get pretty nervous about shots, but it didn’t hurt or anything, so it was good.”
Her shot wasn’t the only thing that was quick and painless. Bain said signing up through her employer Adler Therapy Group and then making an appointment through the health department was simple.
“[I] signed up really quickly last week,” she said. “Just had to fill out a quick questionnaire of symptoms, exposure, previous vaccines, allergic reactions.”
Bob Engle is VBDPH's emergency coordinator who’s helping to run the mass vaccination site.
“Today we’ve got 20 stations set up,” Engle said. “Each table has a vaccinator and an assistant vaccinator.”
Thursday was day two of the operations at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. The move comes after vaccinations began for community health care workers at drive-thru clinics on December 28.
“We knew that wasn’t going to be enough once we started getting into the different tiers of people, so we moved our vaccination efforts here to the convention center,” Engle said.
Community health care workers, who are non-hospital-based, were the only ones being vaccinated Thursday. Those who were approved for the shot had their temperature taken upon entering the convention center. They were then checked in, and after getting vaccinated, they had to wait either 15 or 30 minutes to make sure they didn’t have any adverse health reactions.
In the meantime, Bain is hopeful more people will sign up for the vaccine when they get their chance.
“The more people, obviously that do it, the more likely we’re able to get back to our lives that we want to,” said Bain.
Engle estimates there are 7,200 community health care workers in Virginia Beach. So far, about 2,800 community health care workers have gotten their shot.
The Virginia Beach Health Department plans to expand operations at the massive hub to ramp up vaccination efforts even more. In two weeks, VBDPH plans to vaccinate 4,000 people every day; that would include frontline essential workers, such as teachers and grocery store employees, and those 65 and older.