Vaccination info teams go door-to-door
Having seen fewer people be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 than the state average, the Western Tidewater Health District will be sending vaccination information teams door-to-door throughout its service area in an effort to have more people get the vaccine.
To date, 51.7% of all state residents, more than 4.4 million people, are fully vaccinated. All areas of the health district trail the state average, with just 35.3% of all residents in Southampton County fully vaccinated. That percentage is 39% in Suffolk, 39.8% in Franklin and 45.7% in Isle of Wight County.
Among adults 18 and up, the percentages of fully vaccinated are 42.6% in Southampton County, 49% in Suffolk, 52.5% in Franklin and 55% in Isle of Wight.
In a statement, health district director Dr. Todd Wagner said it is looking forward to getting more vaccination information directly in the hands of residents.
“While we have come far in our vaccine rollout,” Wagner said, “we are in the final stretch, where every vaccination counts. The community information team is one strategy of many we are implementing to reach our goal of 70% of adults vaccinated against COVID-19.”
District-wide, 47.1% of adults 18 and up have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
The health district is doing this in coordination with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The outreach effort will have teams of people wearing branded vests who will go door-to-door in residential areas and at businesses in Suffolk, Franklin, Isle of Wight County and Southampton County. They will be providing health education, information about upcoming COVID-19 vaccination clinics and opportunities to register for upcoming clinics.
“FEMA Region 3 is excited to be a part of Virginia’s tremendous effort to get their citizens vaccinated,” said FEMA Region 3 federal coordinating officer Kevin Snyder in a statement. “Over the past six months, we have worked to support VDEM and VDH’s vaccination mission in a variety of ways, including more than $250 million in grant funding for vaccine projects across the Commonwealth, and helping to run a community vaccination center in Norfolk. Supporting (the health district’s) canvassing efforts is a natural extension of this ongoing partnership with VDH and VDEM, and we are eager to support the (health district).”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in guidance ahead of the 2021-2022 school year, announced late last week that teachers and students who are fully vaccinated do not have to wear masks.
However, the CDC has advised anyone aged 2 and up who has not been vaccinated to wear face coverings while inside school buildings. Generally, people do not need to wear masks outside, it said.
The CDC also said school divisions should have people maintain three feet of social distancing while indoors, but not being able to do so should not stop them from opening on a full-time basis. It said school divisions could use other preventative measures such as masking, washing hands, ventilation and screening, among them.
Currently, only people aged 12 and up can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Public schools in Suffolk and around the country are not making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory, and the administration of President Joe Biden is unlikely to do so, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week.
Suffolk Public Schools is holding its second series of vaccination clinics this week.
Vaccination data as of July 12
Isle of Wight County
Vaccine Doses Administered: 35,969
People With At Least One Dose: 19,524
People Fully Vaccinated: 16,964
At Least One Dose Rate per 100,000: 52,613
Fully Vaccinated Rate per 100,000: 45,714
Percent of the Population with At Least One Dose: 52.6%
Percent of the Population Fully Vaccinated: 45.7%
Percent of the Adult Population with At Least One Dose: 62.8%
Percent of the Adult Population Fully Vaccinated: 55.0%
Source: Virginia Department of Health
Note: Federal doses administered are not included in these numbers. Data reported to VDH as of 5 p.m. July 11.