CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Colleen Piland, 88, is a great-great-grandmother, a "stubborn Irishman" (her words), and a woman who misses going to church and seeing her family.
Thursday - she was a proud recipient of the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
"I didn’t even realize, it was the easiest thing I’ve ever had," Piland said. "This is what I’ve needed all along, I’m just thankful I’ve got it now.”
Bayview Physicians Group, a private healthcare provider, started its vaccine distribution to its oldest patients today as part of Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout in Chesapeake.
Bayview received about 800 doses of the Moderna vaccine, emailed patients over 80 years of age, and within hours, all appointments on Thursday and Friday were booked.
“About 50% of the deaths have been in people over 80 years of age, these are people we really want to get the vaccine to," said Dr. Jeffrey Forman of BPG. "This is how we move forward, this is how we get out of this pandemic."
Forman said Bayview is ready to expand its vaccination clinics, as soon as the healthcare provider gets more doses.
“Give us as much as you can, and we can deliver these vaccines.”
Chesapeake Regional Healthcare is allowing BPG to use its Lifestyle Center on the hospital campus in Chesapeake as a clinic site for vaccine distribution.
It also gave BPG access to a scheduling program to help boost efficiency, and expects 400 people can receive vaccines per day at the Lifestyle Center.
Chesapeake Regional Healthcare President and CEO, Reese Jackson, said there will be other large sites for vaccinations very soon, and he believed the supply of vaccine doses will increase.
“I’m very bullish about that, I think in the next few weeks, we’re going to have a steady stream of vaccine," Jackson said.
Depending on the supply of vaccine doses, BPG plans to use the Lifestyle Center to provide vaccines to its patients two days a week, moving forward.
Vaccine doses are "appointment only" right now, with Bayview doctors contacting patients who are eligible. Piland said she’ll tell everyone to get the vaccine when they can.
“I will spread the news, I really will, I feel so fortunate," Piland said. "Because I don't want COVID."