CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Inside the former Big Lots store in the Rockwood Shopping Center in Midlothian is the newest COVID-19 vaccination site run by the Chesterfield Health District, taking the place of larger clinics in the county.
"Both of which have ceased operating due to drop in demand," Dr. Alexander Samuel, the Director of Chesterfield Health District, said.
Samuel says the clinic will offer Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. He said that the clinic's central location aims to overcome access issues, especially for those in communities of color. The clinic will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.
"Our desire is to conduct more outreach to populations of color, those who have had more challenges with access," Samuel said.
"I'm feeling excited. I'm feeling excited. Definitely," Alphonso Taylor said.
Taylor from Petersburg was among the first in the door Tuesday for his second dose of the vaccine. He said that availability played a factor in getting the vaccine now.
"I'd rather have something to help me out than the waiting, the getting in and figure out how my system is going to respond to it," Taylor said.
The clinic will also operate on Mondays and won't just offer the COVID-19 vaccine but also those that are needed for rising seventh-grade through twelfth-grade students.
17-year-old Deanna already has already visited the clinic for their first shot.
"I feel pretty good. I'm just ready for the next one. Then I'm done," Deanna said.
Samuel said the district is also operating smaller clinics in communities that have had historical barriers to healthcare access and that they are canvassing those areas to raise awareness.
"Spreading the word by word of mouth, passing out flyers, etc. Directing individuals to those opportunities, as well as now the new Rockwood vaccination center," Samuel said.
He added that while the health district is nearing President Biden's 70% goal with over 64% being vaccinated as of last week, those in the district aren't out of the woods yet, especially as variants of COVID-19 continue to spread.
"We are at a point where restrictions are being lifted. Vaccinations, again, are the factor behind that. Certainly want to keep that momentum going," Samuel said.