COVID-19 vaccines are on the move in Charlottesville.
The Blue Ridge Health District brought its mobile vaccination unit to the Downtown Mall on Monday.
The mobile clinic, nicknamed Mobi, will be parked from 1 to 3 p.m. every Monday near the Ting Pavilion for an estimated six weeks, longer if demand is high.
The mini-bus clinic offers a choice of the Pfizer vaccine or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Mobi on the Mall is a joint project with the city in an effort to get more city government employees and community members in general vaccinated as COVID infection rates rise.
City spokesman Brian Wheeler said during last week’s City Council meeting that the city is promoting the mobile vaccination unit to its employees as an opportunity to get vaccinated close to City Hall. 74% of city employees have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but Wheeler said the city wants to see that number rise.
“I’m excited about getting the community vaccinated,” said Drew Tate, mobile unit lead for the health district, said on the mall Monday.
Tate said he has driven Mobi all around Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson.
“It feels good. I’m happy to be able to make the vaccine more accessible,” he said.
Tate Veerl, 12, was the first person to get a shot at the mobile unit Monday. Veerl got the Pfizer vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines have not been approved for those under 18.
“It doesn’t hurt at all. It makes your life easier,” Veerl said.
Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to get vaccinated
John, who declined to provide his last name, wasn’t planning to get the vaccine Monday, but saw the mobile clinic and decided to take advantage of the opportunity. He chose the Pfizer vaccine.
“I got it to be safe from the virus. The experience was easy,” he said.
The signup process, which takes a few minutes to complete, assesses potential health risks. Then, the patient heads into the unit to get a shot. The doors are closed for privacy, with only one patient allowed in the vehicle at a time. Following the shot, patients are required to wait at the site for 15 minutes in case of a negative reaction.
Patients who choose the Pfizer vaccine are scheduled on site for their next appointment. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine does not require a second shot.
Those interested in getting the vaccine at the mobile unit can make an appointment by visiting tinyurl.com/d542ra4f. Walk-ins also are welcomed.