February 15, 2021

For Immediate Release:

Petersburg — In partnership with The Virginia Department of Health, Sports Backers, and the City of Petersburg, today Delegate Lashrecse Aird (D – Petersburg) announces a coordinated effort to deliver additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the Crater Health District.

After collaborative and rigorous discussions with officials from the Department of Health and the Crater Health District, along with leaders from Petersburg, Hopewell, Dinwiddie, and Prince George about the large scale need facing these communities, Delegate Aird successfully secured the allocation of 2,000 additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and led efforts to plan a distribution event for the Crater Health District. “From day one of the vaccine rollout, I have been focused on ensuring vulnerable communities are not left behind.” Delegate Aird said, “The Crater Health District has had to do more with less since the start of this pandemic and that is especially concerning when you consider the fact that these communities have some of the lowest health indicators in the Commonwealth.”

How the Additional Doses Were Secured

“Recognizing the urgent need of the district, I coordinated with Dr. Avula, who agreed to allocate the additional doses if we could organize a distribution event. Working along with our localities and partner organizations; my office has been working tirelessly to
plan this unified vaccination clinic that will ensure our most vulnerable are prioritized and have equitable access to the distribution of this lifesaving vaccine.”

How Doses Will Be Distributed

The allocation of doses will be based on both need and population: 500 doses are reserved for residents from Dinwiddie County, 500 for Prince George, 600 for the City of Petersburg, and 400 for Hopewell. Each locality will work off of a waitlist that has been growing since mid-January and prioritize residents who are 65 years or older. The event will be held on Friday, February 19th at Petersburg High School 8am – 5pm. (Media Advisory to come). Residents 65 and older will be prioritized to ensure the limited reserves have the largest possible impact on those most at risk. The event will be by appointment only and those who are eligible will be contacted and offered appointments by the Department of Health.

Prioritizing Vulnerable Populations

Dr. Danny Avula who leads the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 response said in a statement, “The most effective way to battle this public health crisis is through strategic collaboration. I want to thank everyone involved in planning this effort, particularly Delegate Aird, who has served as an incredible leader in the fight to get more shots in the arms of vulnerable populations in the Crater Health District.” “This is a race against time,” Delegate Aird said, “I am committed to developing solution-driven strategies like this event to ramp up vaccine distribution with a focus on vulnerable communities.” Adding, “We cannot and we will not leave
these communities behind.”

 

Delegate Aird has long advocated for equitable healthcare policies for marginalized and underserved communities. Most recently, she introduced two House Resolutions in the current General Assembly Session: HJ 537 Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis, and HJ 538 Declaring Access to Water a Human Right. Dr. Janice Underwood, Chief Diversity Officer to Governor Ralph Northam said in a statement, “Structural inequity has been magnified due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, innovative state-local partnerships like this community vaccination event help to address these inequities by promoting an equitable response and recovery from this deadly disease, while encouraging continuous engagement with diverse communities across the Commonwealth” Dr. Underwood added, “I want to commend all of the partners who worked so hard to put this event together and particularly Delegate Aird, who has been advocating for an equitable testing and vaccine distribution model for the Crater Health District since the beginning of this pandemic. I applaud her continued dedication to ensuring vulnerable communities are not left behind.” Local agencies will provide logistical support and Sports Backers, a community organization known for staging large sporting events, will provide additional resources.

In a statement, Sports Backers Executive Director Jon Lugbill, said, “We applaud the leadership of Delegate Aird in organizing this rollout and we are energized to join these efforts. Sports Backers is ready to lend our event organizing skills to the effort to support vulnerable populations gaining access to the vaccine.”

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