HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A mass vaccination clinic at the Richmond Raceway began operating Tuesday as most of the Metro Richmond-area moved into portions of Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out.
"It's our first day doing a mass vaccination event where we're targeting 1B. We still have a lot of 1A coming in, but we have opened it up to 1B," said Sara Noble, the clinical nurse manager with the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts who was in charge of the event.
Noble said after Tuesday's launch, the site would be turned over to Henrico County Emergency Management to run it as a regional vaccination center.
"They're partnering with local pharmacies who are also here to learn how the flow of everything goes," added Noble. "It's going to be another tool in our toolbox to get lots of shots in arms. So, they're hoping to do 1,000-to-2,000 a day here going forward while we're continuing our operations at Arthur Ashe."
Noble said mass clinics like this are vital to increasing the number of people that can be vaccinated each day.
"We have folks here who can monitor on a large scale to make sure that any adverse reactions are handled," said Noble, referring to potential allergic reactions to the vaccine. Those who were more considered higher risk were kept inside the building where the vaccinations were taking place, while everyone else waited in their cars in the parking lots and were monitored by firefighters on site. "We're able to move anywhere from 30 to 50 people through every 15 minutes and we're continuing to scale that up."
Noble said Tuesday's event was done using the Moderna vaccine and had people receiving either their first or second dose.
Among those who lined up to receive their first dose was Vic Maloy.
"I'm feeling, physically, as well as when I came in," said Maloy shortly after he received his vaccine. "Emotionally, I'm feeling better because I have the first of two inoculations."
Maloy said he is a pastoral psychotherapist at the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care and is among those in the 1B category now eligible to sign-up for the vaccine. He said he registered through his employer about four days ago for today's event. He added there was never hesitation on his part to sign up for the vaccine.
"Primarily because ever since, I guess, the second week of March I've been working virtually from home. Doing the psychotherapy remotely, not in the office with people," added Maloy, who said there are subtleties with his job that aren't as easy to do virtually. "Being able to see what the person is doing from their neck down, as an example. How they're moving their body, expressions, all those kinds of things which you really don't see on screen with people other than the face."