ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - On Wednesday morning, the Blue Ridge Health District’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic opened its doors to vaccinate first responders this week in Central Virginia.
“I feel great. I was a little nervous at first. The lady who gave me the vaccine really eased my fears. It went pretty well,” Captain Lance Blakey of the Charlottesville Fire Department said.
Blakey received his first dose of the Moderna shot on Wednesday inside the new tent located in the old Kmart parking lot.
“I feel a lot better having the vaccine, especially when we go into different calls. We have a high volume of calls that have potential of people who have COVID-19,” Blakey said.
Blakey is one of hundreds who will be vaccinated in the modular structure.
“We have big plans for this tent. We’re going to have this tent up and running as much as possible,” Jessica Coughlin, an emergency coordinator for the Blue Ridge Health District, said.
She says the tent will be in the parking lot for several weeks and possibly months. Vaccines will be administered in the tent at least three times a week.
“This week is first responders and then we will be going through the rest of Phase 1A which will be all front line healthcare workers,” Coughlin said.“We are really very much in the response phase of the pandemic and this is part of the response phase is getting the vaccines out to folks and we’re going to go through the healthcare folks, we’re going to through essential workers, and we will be out in the community as well.”
Coughlin says her staff is working around the clock to continue managing COVID-19 cases while focusing on administering vaccines.
“We are testing 200 folks three times a week in Charlottesville and throughout our localities. Just be patient, we are warp speed,” Couglin said.
The Blue Ridge Health District will be setting up additional vaccine clinics in all other localities. Those details are still being finalized.