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Reaching out for vaccines

The demand for vaccines has slowed somewhat, but that hasn’t stopped the Western Tidewater Health District from planning seven days full of mobile vaccination clinics this week with the breakneck pace of a rock-and-roll icon’s nationwide tour.

From Monday to Sunday, vaccinations will be given all across the district in 13 different locations, from Windsor to Suffolk and from Ivor to Dreweryville and from Franklin to Newsoms. Two events are being held on every day except Saturday, and there is no appointment necessary. The use of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine eliminates the need for follow-up appointments, making it more convenient for people to just roll up their sleeves and then go about their business.

Western Tidewater Health District Director Dr. Todd Wagner said it is important for the health district to make every effort to reach out to the district’s more rural and underserved areas, even if those efforts don’t result in huge chunks of people vaccinated. They want every single person to get the vaccine, because every person matters.

“Even though the numbers aren’t large, it’s equally important to get those people that, for whatever reason, desire a vaccine but just aren’t getting it,” Wagner told reporter Jimmy LaRoue this week.

Western Tidewater as a whole is trailing the state by significant percentages in getting people vaccinated.

More than 4.5 million people in the state have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, representing 53.2% of its population, and 65.7% of adults 18 and up with at least one dose. More than 3.6 million people statewide are fully vaccinated, representing 42.5% of its population and 53.5% of adults 18 and up.

But in Western Tidewater, lower percentages of people have been vaccinated, especially in Southampton County, Franklin and Suffolk. In those localities, the percentages of people in each having received at least one dose or having been fully vaccinated trails the state by more than 10%.

The state health department has more information about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at www.vdh.virginia.gov/content/uploads/sites/191/2021/05/JJInformation.pdf. They also suggest contacting your doctor for more information.

Here are the events for Wednesday through Sunday:

May 26 – Boykins Fire Station, 18127 N. Railroad Ave., Boykins, 1 to 4 p.m.

May 26 – Capron Baseball Field, 22505 Drewery Road, Dreweryville, 5 to 8 p.m.

May 27 – Southampton Meadows, 33536 Phillips St., Franklin, 1 to 4 p.m.

May 27 – Newsoms Baseball Field, 28286 S. Main St., Newsoms, 5 to 8 p.m.

May 28 – Hayden Village Center, 680 Oak St., Franklin, 1 to 4 p.m.

May 28 – Carrsville Fire Department, 6201 Carrsville Highway, Carrsville, 5 to 8 p.m.

May 29 – Planters Club, 4600 Planters Club Road, Suffolk, 1 to 4 p.m.

May 30 – Whaleyville Recreation Center, 132 Robertson St., Suffolk, 1 to 4 p.m.

May 30 – Lone Star Lakes Park, 401 Kings Highway, Suffolk, 5 to 8 p.m.