First Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Blue Ridge Health District

A sign points the way to the Blue Ridge Health District's vaccine clinic at Monticello High...
A sign points the way to the Blue Ridge Health District's vaccine clinic at Monticello High School on March 5.(WVIR)
Updated: Mar. 5, 2021 at 6:20 PM EST
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Just days after Virginia received its first doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, those shots are being administered. Organizers say the new vaccine could be key in getting the virus under control.

It’s the first time the new vaccine has been available in the Blue Ridge Health District, less than a week after it received approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Hundreds of central Virginians flocked to the first clinic held at Monticello High School to get their dose.

Organizers and volunteers say the new shot could be a game changer for several reasons. One dose, and you’re good to go, no follow-up appointments necessary. It does not need extremely cold storage, either, so it’s easier to manage.

“It’s so much easier to handle because we don’t have to schedule follow up vaccines,” Albemarle County Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Heather Childress said. “Hopefully we’re out of the bad weather phase. I hate to even jinx stuff like that, but the second doses, a lot of those clinics were canceled or rescheduled because of bad weather.

The clinics are organized by the BRHD, local governments, and the regional emergency operations center. However, they’re staffed entirely by volunteers through Virginia’s Medical Reserve Corps.

“It’s cool to give people an opportunity to be part of something like this,” Childress explained. “It’s a really good feeling at the end of the day, to know that we were starting to get towards something that feels normal -- if normal is a word we even use really anymore. It’s cool to be part of that,”

To find out more about getting involved as a volunteer, visit the Medical Reserve Corps website.

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