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New River Health District trying new ideas to get COVID vaccinations

New River Health District trying new ideas to get COVID vaccinations

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As demand for the COVID-19 vaccination slows, the New River Health District is trying new approaches, including visiting the carnival.

This past weekend, vaccinators set up at the RC Cole spring carnival at Uptown Christiansburg, formerly known as the New River Valley Mall.

People were surprised to see the vaccinators there, New River Health District Director Noelle Bissell said. And some were impressed at the convenience, she said.

“We were able to vaccinate 47 people there,” Bissell said. “It took a lot of effort to get those people, but that’s 47 more shots in arms that we are really thankful to be giving.”

About 30% of those who meet criteria for the vaccine have been fully vaccinated in the district, and the health department has administered about 117,000 total doses, according to Bissell.

“This is a huge community effort, but we still have more unvaccinated than vaccinated,” she said.

The target for herd immunity remains 75%, but large clinics that at first saw significant community interest now get 100 or fewer people, Bissell said.

So large volume clinics will end with a final one in Lane Stadium in Blacksburg on May 18. Smaller outreach clinics like that held the carnival will be a new focus.

“We really want to remove any barrier to getting vaccinated,” Bissell said.

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