Mass vaccination clinics take place on eve of 1 year since Virginia's first COVID-19 case

Posted at 7:23 PM, Mar 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-07 14:46:44-05

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- Lines formed on the campus of Virginia State University Saturday morning as people waited to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

"This is actually our second mass event, because we have been offering them on a smaller scale," said Tamara Bailey-Hobbs, a nurse supervisor for the Crater Health District.

Tamara Bailey-Hobbs

Bailey-Hobbs said the district was able to partner with VSU to welcome in more people in a more efficient manner.

“So far we’ve had about 200 people or more," Bailey-Hobbs said. “We’re also offering vaccines at Prince George High School today and at Sussex Middle School.”

Cynthia Caldwell, who stopped by the university, got her first dose of the vaccine.

“Yes I’m going to get my shot today," Caldwell said. “I’ll be glad when it’s over."

The vaccinations come on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the first case of the coronavirus reported in Virginia.

A Marine stationed at Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, who had recently returned from overseas, tested positive for COVID-19, a Pentagon spokesman announced on March 7, 2020.

News of the marine’s diagnosis marked Virginian’s first official case of COVID-19. Health officials were awaiting the results for seven others being tested and said 139 people were being monitored to see if they developed symptoms.

Officials in the nation’s capital also confirmed the district’s first COVID-19 case that same day.

Officials said a man from DC is in his 50s and was admitted to the hospital earlier in the week.

“He started exhibiting symptoms in late February,” DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said. “He presented and was admitted to a DC hospital on March 5.”

The first COVID-19 case in the U.S. was reported on Jan. 20, 2020. Since then more than 28,949,400 cases and more than 524,260 deaths have been linked to the virus in the U.S.

Mass vaccination clinic at Richmond Raceway
Mass vaccination clinic at Richmond Raceway

RELATED: Preregister for the COVID-19 vaccine on the Vaccinate Virginia website or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-275-8343)

Health leaders in Henrico County said more than 3,000 people stopped by the Richmond Raceway Saturday to get their vaccine and they’re anticipating the first doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which only requires one dose to be handed out as well.

That is something VSU is also planning for.

“A lot of individuals can’t either come and get the second dose or afraid to get two doses, so one dose is great for them," Bailey-Hobbs said.

Meanwhile health leaders are encouraging people to register online fro the vaccine or call the Virginia Department of Health's vaccine call center at 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-275-8343). Once registered, you will receive an email or text confirmation as well as weekly updates. You can also review your registration online.

Experts caution that it is still important to continue to follow COVID-19 guidelines.

"COVID is still here," Bailey-Hobbs said. "It is not gone, but the numbers are going down, which we are excited about which pushes us more to get these vaccines distributed."

The Crater Health District will start handing out the Johnson & Johnson vaccine next Thursday, March 11 at Tabernacle Baptist Church and then again on Friday in Hopewell.

Henrico County will be handing out the Johnson & Johnson vaccine starting Monday.