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Virginia National Guard joining efforts to help vaccinate people

The Virginia Health Department identified Richmond Raceway as one of more than a dozen sites for mass public clinics once supply increases.
(WAGM)
Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 3:24 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Monday, training began for hundreds of guardsmen around the state including at Richmond Raceway in Henrico County. For the next two weeks, guardsmen will call Richmond Raceway a home of sorts.

“So it’s basically on the job training. We come in. We’re doing registration. We’re doing mobility,” said Lt. Col. Juanita Rohler, Virginia National Guard.

From helping those who can’t get around themselves, to parking and traffic flow, 250 members of the guard are training at sites across the state.

“If you walk around and talk to any of the soldiers, they’ll tell you they wanted to be on this mission, they wanted to do this because they wanted to help,” said Lt. Col. Rohler.

The Virginia Health Department identified Richmond Raceway as one of more than a dozen sites for mass public clinics once supply increases.

“To be able to help our community I mean to see the operation is really incredible,” said Dennis Bickmeier, Richmond Raceway President. “We know we’re making an impact in our community and we can do more.”

The logistical support from the Virginia National Guard is important because volunteers have been at this for months now, between COVID-19 testing and now vaccinations.

“Private-public partnerships are really what makes this work well for us out here. And it’s just another partner having the Virginia National Guard come on board,” said Jackson Baynard, Henrico Co. Chief of Emergency Management.

After training, a unified command will decide who goes where based off need.

“Everyone out here, we’re all on the same team. We’re all working toward the same goal,” said Baynard.

WWBT has also learned 69,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine slated for Virginia is expected to arrive Wednesday. Shots in arms are expected as early as Friday and maybe Monday at Richmond Raceway.

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