CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Chesterfield Health District officials said that the department’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines is now exceeding demand, updating the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors at its Wednesday meeting.
“We’ve come a long way from where we were a few short months ago, and I’m honored to be part of an incredible team,” Chesterfield Health District Director Dr. Alexander Samuel said. “We’ve been receiving many more weekly doses now — around 17,000 total first and second doses — compared to the 4,500 doses that we were managing a few short months ago.”
In the coming weeks, Samuel said that the health district will be directing more of its vaccine supply to the community vaccination center at Virginia State University (VSU), which is set to remain open through the end of May. Open since March 17, the site has administered 82,484 doses, according to Chesterfield County Fire & EMS Chief Edward “Loy” Senter Jr.
Senter said there is some discussion about extending the operation of the site at VSU for several weeks beyond May.
“We receive confirmation of weekly doses received by pharmacies on Saturdays, so we’ll know for sure on Saturday,” Samuel said.
CHD is encouraging residents to schedule appointments at those pharmacies using VaccineFinder.org. This website allows people to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine at a location near them. Virginians can now also sign up for VDH health district vaccine clinics on Vaccine Finder.
Samuel also said that, with ample supply of COVID-19 vaccines, the Chesterfield Health District will be turning its focus to reach underserved populations.
“Much of our work as a health department will now be directed at vaccination efforts aimed at vulnerable populations,” he said. “We learned a lot through our community testing efforts last summer and autumn, and we’ll be establishing vaccination sites in parts of the health district where we know access to vaccine will be a challenge.”
Such vaccination sites include the Children’s Home of Virginia Baptist in Matoaca, Chester United Methodist Church and St. Augustine’s Catholic Church in North Chesterfield.
Samuel said that other approaches, including mobile options, are in development. Residents will be able to walk up and register to be vaccinated at these clinics.
Whereas many local residents have had to pre-register to then be contacted to schedule an appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccine, Samuel said that process is changing.
“Now, we’re at a point where vaccine supply and access points are sufficient to move away from pre-registration, allowing folks interested in getting a vaccine to self-schedule an appointment at a time and location convenient for them,” Samuel said.
“Nationwide and statewide, there’ve been indications of decreasing demand,” Samuel said. “We’re already sensing that as we’ve been monitoring vaccine appointment fill rates.”