ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccination efforts are officially underway at the Berglund Center.
“It’s finally here to be able to vaccinate the general population,” said Chad Alvarez, Senior Director of Retail Pharmacy at Carilion Clinic.
According to health officials with the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, the decision was based on current demand and increasing supply.
The vaccination clinic on Wednesday, April 7 served as one of the largest in the Roanoke Valley to date, with more than 5,000 people receiving the first dose of their Pfizer vaccine.
Crowds, young and old, were seen waiting in long lines with anticipation.
For Carter Mullins, a junior at William Byrd High School in Vinton, this posed a new opportunity to get back to simpler times.
“I thought it was pretty much time to go ahead because I want to get back to doing all the things that we were able to do before the world was shut down,” Mullins said.
While the clinic is offering shots to the general population, people in Phase 1a, 1b, and 1c are still being prioritized, including Donna Hurd, who got her second dose.
“Hoping to hop on a plan and visit some friends in Florida,” said Hurd.
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) stopped by the Berglund Center early Wednesday afternoon, speaking to residents and thanking volunteers. He says the Phase 2 transition is all thanks to partnering agencies, both local and federal.
“Federal government resources, state government coordination, the private sector with Carilion,” Warner said.
He’s also pushing for rural communities to offer high-speed internet, in an effort for more people to register for vaccination clinics online.
“Whether they don’t have access to broadband, or can’t afford broadband, they’re going to have a really hard time signing up for a vaccination,” said the senator.
For those still struggling with making the decision to vaccinate, Richard Dickow, Jr. says he’s been there.
“It was a big deal for me, but didn’t need to be such a big deal,” Dickow said.
However, his concerns vanished, as soon as he got his Pfizer vaccine.
“Immediately, I had a huge sense of relief, and I think that’s going to last for hours and days,” said Dickow.
Now, he’s a part of a growing population of those who have received their vaccines, all hoping for better days ahead.
To find where you can get vaccinated, click here.