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Thousands receive COVID-19 vaccines in Metro Richmond: ‘It feels good'

“Vaccines do save lives. Vaccines give us all a little more freedom."
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Posted at 5:47 PM, Dec 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-23 18:18:50-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- More than 3,000 people living in Metro Richmond have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to data released by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

On Wednesday, VDH announced vaccination numbers were added to the state’s COVID-19 Daily Dashboard.

In Richmond, 483 people have received their first vaccinations. VDH said 1,357 individuals have received their COVID-19 vaccines in Chesterfield and more than 1,100 people in Henrico were given doses.

Statewide nearly 20,000 doses have been administered. But, no one in Virginia is fully vaccinated because two doses are required for the vaccine to be effective.

This week, more than 50,000 Pfizer vaccines and 140,000 Moderna doses were forecasted to arrive in Virginia.

The country's vaccination efforts have largely focused on healthcare workers in hospitals and staff and residents of long-term care facilities.

“We are providing this information because there is a lot of interest in COVID-19 vaccine.” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver. “In this initial phase, our VDH teams are working with healthcare systems to get vaccines to healthcare personnel and with CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate long-term care residents and staff. As the supply of COVID-19 vaccine gradually increases, it will continue to be offered to additional groups.”

The Richmond-Henrico Health District held vaccination clinics for their healthcare employees and EMS workers Wednesday morning.

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Shirley Bakka, a local public health nurse focused on immunization efforts, was also inoculated from the coronavirus.

Bakka was 2-years-old when she was featured in a Minnesota newspaper as being one of the first children to receive the polio vaccine in the 60s.

“As a child I said the polio vaccine tasted good, but today after receiving COVID-19 vaccine today I want to say it feels good because it does give us hope,” she said.

Polio outbreaks were particularly devastating to the country starting in the 1940s. At the time, 35,000 people acquired a disability due to polio each year, but the vaccine virtually eliminated the disease in America.

“Vaccines do save lives. Vaccines give us all a little more freedom,” Bakka stated.

Tracey Avery-Geter, a nurse practitioner and community testing lead, was one of the first city employees to receive her COVID-19 vaccination.

“It feels good,” Avery-Geter described. “It’s a great opportunity to get vaccinated and for our healthcare workers it’s their time.”

Mayor Levar Stoney also announced that 90 Richmonders have died due to the virus. That’s an increase of four casualties compared to last week.

While he wasn’t vaccinated on Wednesday, Stoney said he will get the shot in the arm when his time comes.

“Nurses, doctors and public health workers are getting vaccinated first for a reason - they area on the frontlines,” he stated. “These frontline heroes provide vital public health services from testing to treatment to vaccination. They look out for us and we have to look out for them.”

Stoney urged residents not to let their guards down surrounding the coronavirus, despite the light at the end of the tunnel.

He called on families to continue to socially distant, wear face coverings, and wash their hands.

The coronavirus vaccine has been administered to 1 million Americans in the last 10 days, the CDC reported on Wednesday.