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UVA Health brings vaccines to Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall for the first of several Friday pop-up clinics

Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 10:27 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - If you’re ready to toss your mask, you still need to get vaccinated. On Friday afternoon in downtown Charlottesville, a new place and space to get your shots emerged.

At the Sprint Pavillion on the Downtown Mall, a chance for kids - and kids at heart - to roll up their sleeves and, soon, pull down their masks thanks to the University of Virginia Health.

“I think what we are finding is we are at the end of how effective we can be with mass vaccination centers,” said Denise Barth, who works at UVA’s Quality and Performance Improvement Department. “So I think we have to get out to where the public is. Where they gather, where they work, where they socialize.”

Barth and a team of vaccinators and staff from UVA brought vaccines downtown -- Johnson & Johnson shots for adults and Pfizer for anyone 12-and-up.

“There are several young ones here getting their vaccine right now, and they’re going to hang out afterward and go have an ice cream or get some pizza or something down on the mall,” said Vickie Marsh, the manager for UVA Health’s Volunteer Services.

Marsh got the best of both worlds on Friday. She helped get shots in arms and held the arm of her daughter Assiya Koryeyon.

As UVA Health works to get as many people vaccinated, they say these events are helpful to bring in people who may not have otherwise gotten their shot.

“There’s been several here today who are like ‘You know, I work two jobs. It’s hard for me to get to a vaccine center. But I work downtown. So it’s easy for me to walk right after work,’” Barth said. “And it’s great that we’re here.”

Especially as UVA and other partners work to knock down the barrier of vaccine hesitancy, being able to talk to people, explain the science, share information, and then give them a shot right then and there can truly help.

“You don’t have to schedule an appointment and have this anxiety buildup about ‘Oh I still have a week before I can get my vaccine,’” Marsh said. “We get to meet them right there, and walk with them.”

UVA Health is planning to make this a weekly event. Every Friday, through at least June, from 3-6 p.m., you can get your shot - no appointment necessary.

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