RICHMOND, Va. -- With COVID-19 restrictions lifted and more Virginians getting the COVID-19 shot, City of Richmond leaders have shifted vaccination efforts to better reach communities in their own backyard.
A little more than 51% of adults in the City of Richmond have gotten at least one COVID-19 shot, according to Richmond Health District officials.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said the city has set a goal of reaching 70% by July, which means there is still a long way to go.
Richmond officials said at a press briefing Wednesday those who are not yet vaccinated fall into three main camps:
- Those who are homebound
- People who are willing but had life get in the way
- Vaccine skeptics
The first two groups are the largest, health officials said citing survey data.
“Life is happening to people so fast right now, I don’t think there’s a real resistance necessarily, but just, hey, I’m a little slow. I’m going to get it; I just got to get it on my timetable,” Stoney said.
The Richmond City Health District launched a signup portal to allow community groups and businesses the opportunity to host vaccination events.
Teams of trained nurses and workers will bring COVID-19 shots to churches or community events and vaccinate those who meet CDC criteria, including children 12 and up with the permission of their guardian, on a walk-up basis.
The move marked a shift from mass vaccination sites and toward local events to bring shots directly into communities that may still include sizable unvaccinated populations.
“So this switch to much smaller teams will allow us to vaccinate and educate in more areas across the city,” Amy Popovich, with RCHD, said.
Starting at Noon on June 3, those interested in bringing a mobile vaccination team to their business or event can go to vax.rchd.com or call he Richmond COVID-19 call center at 804-205-3501.
Vaccine Event and Job Fair
Richmond is also hosting a community event in South Richmond aimed at tackling two pandemic problems:
- Vaccination access
- Worker shortages
On June 12 at Southside Plaza, vaccination teams will be providing shots on a walk-up basis, plus local businesses and hiring agencies will be on-site for a job fair to connect with workers seeking employment.
"There’s a real, real crisis in hiring in the hospitality industry right now, so we’re hoping these people can come to tell their stories, explain to people this is a good job, this is a good career opportunity,” Jason Alley, an advisor the Mayor on restaurants and small businesses, said. “Southside area is the highest concentration of lower-income families, so we’re wanting to make sure we’re doing something that’s really accessible to these vulnerable populations.”
Alley said those who get vaccinated at the event will get a free lunch.
Popovich said their surveys showed a small group of vaccine skeptics within the city.
She said outreach teams are reaching hundreds of people weekly to provide verified information and dispel any myths about the approved COVID-19 vaccines.
“Our role is to provide that accurate information so that our families and friends and neighbors can make the decision that’s best for them,” Popovich said.
You can learn more about the vaccination efforts in Virginia at vaccinate.virginia.gov.