ROANOKE, Va. – The Berglund Center’s parking lot became an important asset in the COVID-19 vaccination effort this weekend.
The Roanoke City Alleghany Health District and Carilion Clinic vaccinated 4,000 people in a drive-thru clinic on Saturday. Another 4,000 vaccinations are scheduled for Sunday.
District health director Dr. Cynthia Morrow said the slots for its drive-thru clinic filled up within five hours of the public announcement.
“People want to do the right thing to protect their health,” Morrow said. “They understand how devastating the last year has been. It’s been devastating to our children. It’s been devastating to our businesses. This is hope.”
All of the patients received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Carilion Clinic nurses administered the vaccines while participants stayed in their cars.
Carilion Clinic COVID-19 Task Force director Chad Alvarez said patients were usually done with the process within 20 minutes of their arrival.
“We’re always looking for ways to improve our process and safely get as many shots in arms as possible,” Alvarez said.
This was the Roanoke City Alleghany Health District’s first ever drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinic.
Morrow believes the vaccination process has come a long way since the start of the year. She now estimates vaccines could open up to the general public by May.
“The demand for vaccine is still there and we’re still getting more vaccines. We’re really enthusiastic,” Morrow said. “We have less time in front of us than we have behind us, and that is something to celebrate.”