VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Demand is high for vaccines in Hampton Roads, with more than 40,000 people pre-registering for a dose in Virginia Beach since Monday.
In Norfolk, more than 16,000 people have pre-registered online, and in Chesapeake, more than 10,000 have signed-up, according to city and health officials.
Virginia Beach is holding a third mass vaccination clinic on Saturday at the Convention Center, but it remains appointment only.
"We're in this for the long haul, but help is coming. We've got a plan, and as vaccines come into town we're going to get them into people's arms," said Virginia Beach EMS Chief Ed Brazle, who's helped the city and health department organize the clinics and registration process.
With this third clinic this week, the Resort City will have vaccinated about 9,000 people by the end of the day Saturday. While many more wait online, officials are urging people to remain patient.
"I encourage people to be patient. There's a huge, pent-up demand for these vaccines, and we're working as hard as we can to get them into people's arms as quickly as we can," Brazle said.
If you are going to a clinic, health officials urge people not to arrive too early, as in more than 30 minutes, to make sure lines don't grow excessive. You could be turned away if you're too early.
In addition, there's no reason to come to the clinic if you don't have an appointment to try and get a leftover vaccine.
"Do not come to the site looking for an extra dose. We are being very careful in only drawing up what we need for the day," Brazle said.
Moving forward, Virginia Beach City Manager Patrick Duhaney says the priority in Phase 1b will be people 65 and over, teachers, public safety workers and child care workers. Then, they'll move to other workers and people under 64 with a serious health issue.
"You can understand it may take a few months for us to complete Phase 1b vaccinations with the current supply we have," Duhaney said during Tuesday's city council meeting.
Eventually, the city is hoping to expand the vaccination process beyond the Convention Center, but it all depends on supply.
"There's going to have to be work done to get pharmacies and physicians offices in play, so we can use other partners to get our constituents vaccinated," Duhaney said.