Norfolk vaccine preregistration sites help combat barriers for high risk residents

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Posted at 3:44 PM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 18:12:45-05

NORFOLK, Va.— The City of Norfolk opened new in-person vaccine preregistration sites Wednesday in communities across the city to lessen the technology barriers some face while trying to get vaccinated.

It’s a much needed first step to getting many high-risk residents vaccinated who are confused about the process but desperately want to be protected against the virus.

“I have lost family members to it so I’m here,” said Dannie Mason who preregistered at the Sherwood Forest Recreation Center Wednesday morning.

Myrtle Burns said she came to the Sherwood Forest location because she got an email from a church member that the sites were open. She was emotional about the opportunity to get vaccinated.

“I work with the public and for my family, my grandkids, whatever the case maybe, I want to be—I want to live,” she said.

People like Myrtle Burns have been eager to get the vaccine, but say they didn’t know they could register online or over the phone with the City of Norfolk. Others, like Mason, say the same thing—they had no idea they could preregister until someone told them an in-person site was opening close by.

Norfolk seniors and those without computer access can receive in-person help preregistering for the COVID-19 vaccine at five different recreation centers that just opened Wednesday.

The following recreation centers will take part of the Vaccinate Norfolk Preregistration effort:

  • Berkley Neighborhood Multi-Service Center, 121 W. Liberty Street
  • Sherwood Forest Recreation Center, 4537 Little John Drive
  • Norfolk Fitness & Wellness Center, 7300 Newport Avenue
  • Park Place Multi-Purpose Center, 606 W. 29th Street
  • East Oceanview Recreation Center, 9520 E. 20th Bay St.

They’re open for walk-ups Monday- Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. until February 26.

These are not vaccination clinics. It’ll take 4 to 8 weeks to be contacted by the health department for a vaccination appointment.

“People feel comfortable in their neighborhoods, in their communities, so it’s easy for them to walk out of their front door and walk to a recreation center to obtain the information they need for immunizations,” said Darrell Crittendon Director of Recreation, Parks & Open Space for the City of Norfolk.

Sherwood Forest Recreation Center is in a zip code identified with the highest cases for COVID-19. As of Monday, there were just over 2,000 people preregistered to get their shot. But just next door in the East Ocean View neighborhood, twice as many people were registered in the lower risk area.

The city hopes to combats the vaccination disparity by doing more to provide information to the most vulnerable communities.

“A lot of it has to do with economics it can deal with race. I can deal with a lot of different issues but what we want to do is the city of Norfolk is supervised opportunities for all to get information."

The city says if preregistration numbers continue to increase there is a possibility additional sites will open and current cites like Sherwood Forest will be kept open longer.