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Underserved communities in Chesapeake get easier access to COVID-19 vaccine

Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, 20 African-American churches, and a few organizations teamed up to make sure people got their COVID-19 vaccine dose.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Chesapeake health officials say the South Norfolk side of Chesapeake is seeing disproportionate numbers across the board when it comes to communities of color.

President and CEO of Chesapeake Regional Healthcare Reese Jackson said the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths among Black communities and people of color is higher than other races.

He says events like the one on Tuesday will help lower those hospital numbers.

"We're in South Norfolk today because South Norfolk has a higher concentration of Blacks than the city of Chesapeake as a whole," Reese explained.

"I was very positive about getting the vaccine," said one lady who walked out after getting her first dose. 

She falls into Phase 1b being over the age of 65 and said having a vaccine clinic close to her home gives her hope.

"You got to protect yourself and then you can protect others...and with encouragement," she said.

Democratic Delegate of the 77th District Cliff Hayes grew up in the South Norfolk side of Chesapeake. He said seeing events like this taking place in his neighborhood is overdue, but he is happy it is finally happening.

"Not everybody can get to large, massive locations with huge convention centers along highways, but right here in the community, there are a number of people who can just catch a ride with their neighbor right around the corner right in their community," Delegate Hayes explained.

Members of the community who are 65 and older in the Phase 1b vaccination group will have priority. The two-day event is being held at Bethany Baptist Church, 2587 Campostella Road, in Chesapeake.