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As Virginia closes in on vaccination goal, health districts shift from mass clinics

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Posted at 4:55 PM, Jun 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-03 21:03:54-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Virginia Department of Health says 55.2% of Virginians, or 4.7-million people, now have at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. 67.4% of adults in the state have at least one dose.

Virginia is closing in on President Joe Biden's goal of 70% of adults vaccinated with at least one dose.

Chickahominy's Health District's director said that they aren't far behind the state average and they feel confident that the district will hit 70% by July 4.

RELATED: County-by-county look at COVID-19 vaccination rates in Central Virginia

"As you mentioned, the state as a whole is over 67%," Dr. Tom Franck said.

Franck said that Chickahominy, which covers the counties of Hanover, Goochland, New Kent and Charles City, was at 65% as of the end of last week. Franck says in order to reach that goal, they need to vaccinate just over 3,500 in that age group within the next month.

"Looking at our numbers, that makes me feel good and optimistic about that. We feel like we're on target to reach that goal easily," Franck said.

"In terms of numbers, that's about 100 vaccines a day or about 700 vaccines a week. And currently, in our most recent week, we gave over 1,000 doses. So, if you look at those two numbers, we think that we're going to reach that target if we continue what we're doing currently," Franck said.

In order to that, they'll continue their current focus that, like other districts, has seen them move away from mass vaccination clinics like the last one left in Ashland at an old grocery store. They will instead transition to smaller clinics that are more targeted and more mobile.

Franck said that these clinics are about increasing the convenience to get the vaccine.

"We're going to churches, we're going inside of schools and doing the younger population, 12 and older, and we're even doing house calls," Franck said.

He said that the other part of the push, and one that's been present since the beginning, is educating people about the vaccine and why they should get it.

"The risks of the vaccine versus the benefits of the vaccine, versus the risks of not taking the vaccine and namely that risk is getting the COVID-19 infection and spreading the COVID-19 infection and keeping this pandemic going," Franck said.