Hundreds roll up their sleeves at new COVID vaccine clinic in Pittsylvania County

800 vaccines were available

GRETNA, Va. – A new clinic in Pittsylvania County is making vaccinations more accessible to people living in rural communities.

With 800 vaccines available at the new clinic in Gretna, people were ready to roll up their sleeves.

Hundreds of people received Johnson and Johnson vaccines at the former Foodland building on North Main Street in Gretna on Friday.

A chance Robert Yeatts was not going to miss despite living 26 miles away.

“This was the first opportunity I had in my age group to get it done,” he said.

Leaving with a bandage on his arm, he now joins the other 30,000 vaccinated people in the county.

It’s a strong start Dr. Scott Spillman, the health director of the Pittsylvania County/Danville district, points out. But he said more needs to be done.

“The farther out we go into the rural communities,” he said. “There’s not as much broadband so it’s harder to reach folks.”

That’s why Pittsylvania County sent out postcards with a phone number to schedule appointments.

Spillman said the other challenge is convincing people to get the vaccine when they are scared of needles.

A fear Evelyn Vaden, a resident from Altavista, overcame.

“Well based on that I hate needles,” she said. “It went very well. I felt a little prick.”

Friday, the county announced their expansion into Phase 2, a move Spillman hopes will help the other 70,000 unvaccinated people in the county.

“I’ve been pushing the envelope and the state about that,” he said. “I’ve been asking to open to level 2 for the past few weeks.”

As the county works on establishing a vaccine distribution site in Hurt, Yeatts said if anyone is hesitant, don’t be.

“I’d tell them, c’mon and get it done,” he said.

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