They’re closing up shop and moving just down the mall.
The Blue Ridge Health District’s mass vaccination site at the former JC Penney store in Fashion Square mall will be closing June 24. The district will open a new, albeit smaller, site in another mall storefront June 28.
“It’s been critical in terms of providing vaccines, but we’ve been finding diminishing demands for first-dose appointments,” Ryan McKay, of the health district, said of the former department store site. “That signaled the idea that we need to change to either smaller locations or mobile efforts needed to conduct outreach to get people to overcome hesitancy and to really meet where people are to provide them with easier access to the vaccine.”
McKay said in a virtual town hall Thursday that a new vaccine clinic will open up in the mall.
“We are relocating to a smaller location in the old J. Crew site, where we will provide vaccines four days a week,” McKay said, adding that vaccines will be offered on Monday and Thursday evenings. “We’ll be here for the foreseeable future and offer vaccine as long as demand warrants the use of those resources.”
An estimated 34,495 vaccine doses have been given at the JC Penney site, officials said. About 272,486 residents in the health district have received a vaccine shot with 130,638 being completely vaccinated.
The district covers the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson counties.
McKay said some of the resources will be moved from the central location to the district’s mobile vaccination unit and community outreach program.
The health district launched its new mobile vaccine clinic vehicle on June 8. The vehicle allows the district to go into the community to offer shots at events such as fairs and farmers markets.
Rebecca Schmidt, of the health district, said the mobile unit likely will be expanded in the future to offer influenza or other vaccinations, blood pressure screenings and general public health services.
“We see this unit as one of what we hope will become a fleet of vehicles managed by lots of different organizations, including [the University of Virginia Health System] or the Charlottesville Fire Department, that can really bring services across the community,” she said.