ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — More than 2,000 Roanoke Valley residents were able to get their first round of COVID-19 vaccinations at the Berglund Center in Roanoke on Saturday.
Exactly 2,016 people had appointments scheduled on Saturday, Jan. 23, to receive their first dose at a closed vaccination event. Martha Kuchar and her husband were among them.
“For a while, I’ve resisted even the flu shot until I recognize that it’s not just me, it’s the community. And we inoculate ourselves, but we also inoculate to keep each other healthy and strong,” said Kuchar.
To prevent crowding and practice social distancing, Carilion Clinic scheduled 12 appointments every five minutes.
“We wanted to give people room to feel safe when coming to get vaccinated and have time to be able to talk to people after their shots. If there was any reaction or if there were any issues,” said Time Auwarter, Carilion’s Vice President of Ancillary Services.
According to Carilion, there are no reports of reactions to the vaccine, and emotions filled the air.
“My daughters were ecstatic. The rest of my family is just super happy that this is happening,” Kuchar said.
“We’re very excited about having the vaccine available to give out to people and maybe be able to get back to normal,” said Auwarter.
Getting the vaccine has been a challenge across the nation, including here in southwest Virginia.
According to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), more than 15,000 people in our area are on a waiting list to receive the vaccine.
“As we continue to see the amounts of vaccines being available to us, we’ll work with the VDH to get these set up,” Auwarter said.
While it may not be at the scale of the Berglund Center, Carilion hopes as more vaccines become available, more people will choose to get vaccinated so they can get back to enjoying life’s pleasures.
“I miss the hugging. Yeah, let’s get back to normal life,” said Kuchar.
The weekend coronavirus closed vaccination event continues on Sunday, Jan. 24 for Roanoke Valley community members age 65 and older. However, registration closed within hours of the clinic’s announcement earlier in the week.
For more information on VDH COVID-19 vaccinations in your area, click here.