Large-Scale Vaccination Site To Open In Portsmouth
A mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic will open in Portsmouth next week, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday.
Similar sites will launch in Danville and Petersburg. Officials said the locations will only accept people who have previously registered for the vaccine.
The new community vaccination centers reflect the state’s commitment to opening larger vaccination clinics, Northam said. The state hopes to ultimately launch 13 of them.
“You’ve seen massive clinics on TV like at [Los Angeles] Dodger Stadium,” Northam said during a news briefing. “Virginia’s won’t be that big. But these are intended to be large-scale events able to vaccinate several hundred to several thousand people in a day.”
Officials haven't announced the specific location of the Portsmouth vaccination site yet.
Curtis Brown, Virginia’s coordinator for emergency management, said the state accounted for equity concerns when deciding where to launch the new community clinics.
The sites are meant to serve vulnerable and marginalized communities that have received the vaccine at a slower rate than other areas.
Portsmouth, which mostly has Black residents, lags behind other cities in its pace of vaccinating residents.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, 10,154 Portsmouth residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 4,074 have been fully vaccinated.
By comparison, in neighboring Chesapeake, more than 36,000 residents have received at least one dose. Suffolk, which has a smaller population than Portsmouth, also has had more success vaccination residents. Nearly 13,000 people in Suffolk have received the vaccine.
Danny Avula, the director of the Richmond and Henrico County health departments, said the state wants to vaccinate more Black and Latino residents.
“The more that we get out into neighborhoods where many undocumented residents live and do those types of open vaccination events, the more that we’re going to be able to educate and support and ultimately provide more opportunities for vaccination,” Avula said.
Statewide, about 7,400 Black and 6,300 Latino residents have received the vaccine, compared to 12,400 white people per 100,000.
Brown asked that residents not drive up to the new vaccination sites without pre-registering. He suggested the locations could eventually open up to people who don’t pre-register.