RICHMOND, Va. -- Hundreds of people aged 75+ who filled out a COVID-19 vaccine interest form with their local health department were vaccinated Friday. [Scroll down for registration instructions.]
Drivers pulled up Friday morning for the first of three mass vaccination events that will continue Saturday and again on Tuesday after Sunday's event was rescheduled because of winter weather in the forecast.
Once inside, it did not take those arriving for their appointment long for their sleeves to begin to be rolled up for their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“It was a painless shot,” Richmonder Charlie Larus said.
A 92-year-old woman agreed with Larus.
“I didn’t even feel it,” she said.
The goal over the next three days, according to Cat Long, with the Richmond Henrico Health District.
“We are looking to do near 800 [Friday] and then Saturday and Sunday, in partnership with Henrico County and a few of the other health districts in the area, we’re planning to do about 6,700 across those two days,” Long explained.
Larus, who got the call to be here Friday morning, said the experience "went very, very well."
"It was surprisingly well organized,” he said.
That organization comes from experience, according to Long.
“Richmond and Henrico Health Districts have done about 15 events, so we’ve definitely learned lessons," Long noted. "We definitely have our clinic flow down. We’ve been about to scale up in size.”
The mass vaccination events are by appointment only, so only those who get an email or phone call with an exact time can get vaccinated.
“We have everyone register in advance so that we make sure everybody who gets the vaccine qualifies for a vaccine,” Long said.
Officials said they "understand the eagerness," but stressed patience as more doses become available.
"We had over 40,000 people filled out our interest form and we’re expecting to be able to vaccinate about 7,000 this weekend," Long said.
The three events are possible in part due to VCU Health System donating vaccines from its supply.
How thousands of seniors can get a COVID vaccine this weekend
People aged 75+ who live in Charles City, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent or Powhatan counties as well as the City of Richmond can fill out a COVID-19 vaccine interest form with their local health department will get vaccinated. [SCROLL DOWN]
All qualifying individuals who are interested in getting a COVID-19 vaccine should fill out the appropriate interest form or call for assistance:
- Richmond City and Henrico County or call 804-205-3501
- Chesterfield Health District -- Chesterfield and Powhatan counties or call 804-318-8207
- Chickahominy Health District -- Hanover, Goochland, New Kent and Charles City counties or call 804-365-3240
If you or a loved one filled out an interest form, you are urged to answer the phone and check email for details about the mass vaccination events scheduled for Friday and Saturday. Sunday's event has been rescheduled, because of winter weather in the forecast, to Tuesday.
Officials noted Friday evening that Saturday's event was fully booked, but said there were"still many vaccination appointment slots for Tuesday."
"Schedulers will work through the interest form lists; seniors will receive one e-mail and two phone calls before the scheduler moves on to the next person," Cat Long, with the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts, wrote in an email. "Directions in the e-mail must be completed by the deadline listed. Due to the high volume of registrations, we are unable to accept calls back from seniors, so it is important they answer the phone."
Phone calls will be made between 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. until all appointments are filled.
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.