VDH works to increase diversity for vaccine clinics

Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 6:01 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Virginia Department of Health now has a multi-level approach when it comes to getting all races and ethnicity to mass vaccine clinics, according to Dr. Cynthia Morrow.

A lot of that responsibility, though, is falling on the newly-formed community outreach vaccination teams.

The mass clinics at the Berglund Center and Salem Civic Center continue three times per week, open to essential workers and those over the age of 65.

“So we are receiving a total of 3,150 doses; we are committed to getting all of those doses into arms by the end of the week and our data show that.”

But diversity lacks.

“We are doing both intentional efforts for our mass vaccination clinics as well as intentional efforts, working with partners for our community outreach vaccination team,” said Morrow.

These teams are hosting events - two are set to take place this week. They’re designed by the community, through the City of Roanoke and Carilion.

“One is to try to increase access in our Black or African American community and one is to try to increase access in our Hispanic community so looking at disparity in both race and ethnicity,” said Morrow.

Morrow noted that while there are urban disparities, there are also rural disparities.

“And so we’re looking at Craig County, Alleghany, Covington and Botetourt, and we have smaller clinics in those areas, continuing to build on those.”

Language barriers also remain a high item of importance for the newly-formed teams, especially at the clinics. When asked how they’re being handled, Morrow responded, “We have work to do.”

Morrow also spent time Tuesday talking about the pre-registration process for clinics, talking about a new state wide system rollout Tuesday,

The hope is that over the next few weeks, people needing to sign up will find the process to be smoother.

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