For immediate release – March 11, 2021
Contact: Nathan Ramsey, Fire-Rescue Chief
Re: COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Center
In preparation for gradually increasing vaccine supply, Rockbridge County has leased the building formally known as Peebles/Gordmans, located at 770 N Lee Highway in the College Square Shopping Center, to serve as a centralized, regional vaccination center. Until recently, the Virginia Department of Health has utilized the Maury River Middle School for mass vaccination clinics when in-person learning was not in session. Additionally, the Carilion Rockbridge Community Hospital and the Rockbridge Area Health Center have received and distributed available vaccine doses.
“The three locations have served well to distribute the vaccine allocated to the area,” explained Nathan Ramsey, Rockbridge County Fire-Rescue Chief, and member of the regional Emergency Management Task Force. “We have been very fortunate that the Rockbridge County Public School System offered use of the Maury River Middle School for mass distribution on Fridays and Saturdays, but with an increase in supply, we needed to find a location that would be readily available when we get the call from the Virginia Department of Health.”
Currently vacant, the Gordman’s/Peebles building in College Square Shopping Center provided an excellent opportunity to meet local needs. “This definitely didn’t move at the speed of government,” noted Spencer Suter, Rockbridge County Administrator. “With support of the Lexington and Buena Vista City Managers, we executed a lease with the owner, Harding and Associates, in record time. Harding and Associates was fantastic to work with through the process.” The County will apply for FEMA reimbursement for all costs associated with the vaccination center.
The building will be leased through the end of June, though an extension may be possible if needed. The Emergency Management Task Force is currently working with the Virginia Department of Health to prepare the building for use as a vaccination center. The Virginia Department of Health is currently going down the list, and contacting eligible persons who have signed up for the vaccine, to make appointments for upcoming vaccine clinics.
“It is very important to note that the process for receiving a vaccine will remain the same,” noted Chief Ramsey. “You must still sign up for the vaccine with the Virginia Department of Health, either on their website or telephone hotline. When you become eligible and a dose is available, they will call and schedule an appointment for you at the new center.”
Carilion Rockbridge Community Hospital and the Rockbridge Area Health Center also plan to participate in mass vaccination clinics and the Virginia Military Institute will assist with setup and staffing as needed. W&L University and Southern Virginia University have offered assistance as well. The vaccination center will only be open on days and times when a clinic is scheduled, and no vaccine will be stored on site.
Chairman of the Rockbridge County Board of Supervisors summarized by saying, “As we continue to pivot and adjust through this challenge, the collaboration among all partners, both public and private, is truly gratifying. Everyone is pulling in the same direction to get us to the other side.”
To register for the vaccine, please visit https://vaccinate.virginia.gov/ or call 1-877-VAX-IN-VA (1-877-829-4682) - available 7 days a week, 8 AM – 8 PM. English and Spanish accessible.)
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