Prior to holiday, Military Circle Mall vaccination site busy with those looking to get booster

Military circle mall vaccine clinic.jpg
Posted at 2:52 PM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 18:08:38-05

NORFOLK, Va. - The COVID-19 booster shot is extra layer of protection before the holidays after many of us didn't get to travel or spend time with family for Thanksgiving or Christmas last year due to the pandemic.

The Virginia Department of Health says they have already administered more than 1.3 million third doses or boosters in the Commonwealth this year.

In Hampton Roads, more than 133,000 people have received a booster shot.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says if you got the Pfzier or Moderna shot more than six months ago, you can get the COVID-19 booster.

As for Johnson and Johnson, if you had it two months ago or longer, the CDC says you are eligible ready as well.

A steady stream of those eager to roll up their sleeve filtered into the the Military Circle Mall Vaccination clinic on Tuesday morning.

"My grandson, he has has an immune deficiency, and therefore we have to be safe all family around him," said 67-year-old Belinda Insley.

She said she left feeling a bit of relief as the holiday draws near and this year she'll get to spend it with family.

"Family is coming around this year. We couldn't last year, so this is just a safe haven," said Insley.

Dr. Parham Jaberi with the VDH says folks looking to feel at ease this Thanksgiving by getting the shot may be a little late, but the booster is still at work.

"You need about two weeks to gain immunity as soon as you are vaccinated your body gets to work," he said. "But it is not too late for the Christmas holidays."

He added that the booster is needed due to waning immunity with the initial vaccinations.

"It is like a gas tank - you fill it up with the shot; you are good to go against the infection, but over time you need to refill it, hence the booster," said Dr. Jaberi.

"My daughter is a schoolteacher, and she doesn’t want to expose the children to anything, so she said, 'Let's get our vaccines.' That’s what we did," said 79-year-old Susan Welker. She wants to be fully protected and has very little concern about any side effects.

"I had the other shots and didn't have any side effects," said Welker.

Dr. Jaberi does say some side effects are common with the booster.

Related: State vaccination coordinator discusses booster shot rollout for the Commonwealth

"[The] main things are tiredness, redness in arm, discomfort and a stiff arm," he said. "Tiredness hits after a few hours and usually lasts 48 hours or a little longer."

Click here to see a list of places that offer COVID-19 vaccines and the booster shots.

Click here for our full COVID vaccination guide.