Health officials distribute over 4,000 Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines at Berglund Center drive-thru event

Roanoke Valley News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The Berglund Center hosted its first drive-thru vaccination event on Saturday. For Randy St. Clair, the process couldn’t have been any easier.

“A very, very straight-forward process,” said St. Clair.

He and thousands of other residents got their COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, March 6.

“As soon as we were able to open up the clinic, it filled up in about four hours,” Dr. Cynthia Morrow, Health Director for the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, said.

However, it wasn’t the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. For the first-time, healthcare workers administered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The Roanoke City and Alleghany Health District received the new shipment earlier this week.

“This is 8,000 doses that we didn’t know about last week, and this week we’re able to get 8,000 more doses into arms and every dose that we get into arms, is a way for us to protect our entire community,” said Dr. Cynthia Morrow.

The drive-thru clinic not only sped up vaccine distributions, but also recovery periods — a 15-minute waiting period where people are monitored for potential symptoms.

“The recovery time starts, if you think about it, once you receive your vaccine, so by the time you’re actually snaking around, and getting to the recovery side, it’s actually getting up to the 10 to 15-minute period,” said Chad Alvarez, Senior Director of Pharmacy for Carilion Clinic.

This is an option that may be used more frequently.

“This is just another tool, so we’ll definitely be aware of using these in the future,” Alvarez said.

It was a monumental day for St. Clair, who struggles with a neurological disease.

With a new shot, and a peace of mind, he’s already looking forward to being more interactive and performing day-to-day tasks.

“I’m hoping by the end of the month I can actually get out and go to the store, now and then,” said St. Clair.

Approximately 4,000 more Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines will be distributed on Sunday, March 7 at the Berglund Center. Registration is required.

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