Pittsylvania/Danville Health District hit COVID-19 vaccine distribution challenges

Hundreds of people were vaccinated Friday at Danville Community Market.

DANVILLE, Va. – With nearly 6,000 vaccinated already in the Danville and Pittsylvania County region, people over 65 and teachers eagerly waited to receive their first dose Friday.

Laying out bandages and setting up needles, volunteers got ready to administer 864 doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine.

“We are never going to get out of this nightmare unless we get 70 to 80 percent of the population vaccinated,” Vice Mayor of Danville Gary Miller said.

That’s why 91-year-old Louise Jefferson and 87-year-old Merlon Jefferson took the 20-minute drive from Dry Fork to Danville to get their vaccine.

“This is the closest space we can get at this time,” Louise said.

In the past few days, more than 5,000 people registered through the city’s portal.

Pittsylvania/Danville Health District Director Scott Spillman said after talking to the governor’s office they may receive an extra 15% of vaccines next week.

“I told the person last night I am going to talk to them every single day until we get more vaccines,” Spillman said.

With phone systems crashing in the past and low internet accessibility, Sovah Health now has a team going door to door to register people on their iPads. In just a day and a half, they signed up 500 people.

With communities of color more at risk, Sovah Health is reaching out to community leaders to spread the word.

“We noticed there was a lack of balance there and that’s why we reached out to folks this time around to get to the ground level,” Sovah Health Danville Chief Operating Officer John Kent said.

A feeling of relief for Michael and Norma Allen as they can now say they got their first dose.

“It’s a joy feeling that we got this process started,” Norma said. “I see a lot of people here who got this opportunity too.”

The next vaccine distribution is expected to happen sometime next week at Cherrystone Missionary Baptist Association.

While details are still being finalized, you can pre-register for a large vaccination event now.

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