HANOVER COUNTY, Va.-- If you're 70 or older and live in the Chickahominy Health District, you can now get a COVID-19 vaccine without an appointment.
Beginning April 5, health officials are allowing walk-in appointments for seniors on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m at the mass vaccination center in Ashland.
That goes for seniors who are residents of Hanover, New Kent, Goochland and Charles City. All you need to bring is your ID for proof of age and residency.
Health district leaders say it's in an effort to ensure there are no technology barriers and as they work to get as many seniors vaccinated as possible.
"It’s sometimes hard to catch people on the phone to make appointments, so that’s been a barrier for some of our seniors," explained Caitlin Hodge, Chickahominy Health District Population Health Manager. "We do email also, but a lot of them don't have email or check it regularly, so we wanted to make sure that barrier was down for our seniors."
Connie and Ralph Newcomb of Mechanicsville were two of the first walk-ins at the clinic Monday morning.
"When I heard it on TV this morning when I cut it on, I said we are going to have to give it a shot," Connie explained.
The couple has been married for more than 50 years, and was hesitant to get vaccinated at first, but now they’re grateful they did.
"Don’t wait go get it," said Ralph. "You really need to get it. You can be around your grandkids, and I love my grandkids. So that's the main thing, being around everybody and maybe get rid of this mask."
The Chickahominy Health District is also vaccinating everyone in Phases 1A, 1B and 1C. People in those groups should call 804-365-3240 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to schedule an appointment or register online.
Hanover County Fire and EMS is helping to ensure the mass vaccination clinic runs smoothly. Beginning Monday, they will also receive help from nine auxiliary workforce employees.
Hodge said these staff members are from other state agencies, and they will help with the non-clinical parts of the clinic, such as entering data and coordinating patient flow.
"That is going to be super helpful to have them here," said Hodge.
The Chickahominy Health District said it’s well on its way to reaching herd immunity. They've given out more than 55,000 shots so far, and they have another roughly 5,000 doses scheduled to go into arms this week.
“I think it's amazing teamwork," said Hodge.
Health officials also want to remind people the Moderna vaccine requires a four week time period before you can get your second dose, and they note they had to turn away some people Monday morning who thought they could get that second dose sooner now that more appointments are available.