Surge of doses helps Chesterfield near 70% of vaccinations goal

'There should be no reason why anybody who wants a vaccine to get one in the next few weeks,' EMS chief says
Nancy Potterfield
Posted at 6:08 PM, Apr 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-09 18:39:32-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Chesterfield County has reached two-thirds of its goal to vaccinate 75% of their population against the coronavirus.

The county has set a community vaccination goal of 190,000 residents. As of Friday, approximately 67.82% or about 129,000 people have received their vaccination.

“It took 85 days to reach 33% and only 26 days to reach 67%!,” the county tweeted on Thursday.

Chesterfield estimated that it will reach their goal by early May. Those figures are targeted solely at Chesterfield, which is part of the Chesterfield Health District that includes Powhatan and Colonial Heights.

CBS 6 compared those numbers to Richmond and Henrico, which report their vaccination rates together.

According to the Richmond City-Henrico Health District (RCHD), more than 32 percent of eligible people have received at least one dose. Nearly 18 percent are fully vaccinated.

RCHD also has a goal to vaccinate 75 percent of their population, which was determined by the state as percentage that would get close the so-called herd immunity.

Chesterfield Fire and EMS Chief Loy Senter gave much of the credit to the first responders who have worked hard to assist in the testing and vaccination efforts since the beginning of the pandemic.

Some of his employees work as much as 36 to 48 hour shifts to help the county vaccinate the public.

“It does mean our firefighters are certainly working a lot of extra duty. Even if they aren’t vaccinating individuals directly they may be getting call back to fill back vacancies at fire stations,” Chief Senter explained. “In many cases we don’t have enough people to sign up to work overtime so we have we call mandatory overtime.”

Senter called the mass vaccination set set up at Virginia State University a “game changer.” In addition to administering doses at the Chesterfield Fairgrounds, first responders travel to those who cannot safely leave their homes.

Federal allotments to pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens and Kroger has also helped in the efforts.

The county has also received a surge of doses, which has contributed to the increase in vaccinations. In January and February, the county would often receive less than 4,500 doses per week.

“The vaccines are there. The availability is improving. There should be no reason why anybody who wants a vaccine to get one in the next few weeks,” Senter stated.

He encouraged everyone to get registered to receive a vaccination. Senter urged those who are already registered to answer their phones and respond to emails as soon as they come in.

COVID-19 Precautions

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.

COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.

Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.