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White House: Military Circle Mall in Norfolk to be site of major COVID-19 community vaccination center

The White House said the expanded vaccination site at the old Macy's will be open 7 days a week and able to administer 3,000 doses a day.

NORFOLK, Va. — The White House said Friday it was partnering with Virginia to build a new major Community Vaccination Center (CVC) at the old Macy's at Military Circle Mall.

The Type II CVC is an expansion of the Type III CVC currently operating at the the mall. The expansion will allow people to administer approximately 3,000 shots a day (21,000 doses per week), and the center will operate seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The White House already sent federal teams to work with the state and localities. 

The site should be up and running in its Type II capacity by Wednesday, March 31. The CVC primarily will use federal staff in support of state and local governments.

During the pilot period, the federal government will give limited, direct vaccine allocation to the site through FEMA, the same as it does through federal entities for other federal programs.

Some of the reasons Military Circle Mall was chosen include:

  • Convenient location near multiple major highways and four bus routes
  • Accessibility by car, with a variety of passenger drop-off areas and parking options
  • Central location to more than 1.7 million people across 14 nearby localities

Existing contracts through the City of Norfolk for supporting services, such as security, emergency medical services, medical waste and catering, also made a timely start-up possible.

The White House said, "The goal of establishing joint federal pilot centers is to continue to expand the rate of vaccinations in an efficient, effective and equitable manner, with an explicit focus on making sure that communities with a high risk of COVID-19 exposure and infection are not left behind."

VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads put out a call for volunteers to support the vaccination center. 

The group said it and FEMA were hoping to line up 50 to 60 volunteers daily for six-hour shifts. The volunteers would help with non-clinical duties including greeting people, registration and observation. Anyone who would like to volunteer can sign up on VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads' website.

The White House said other Type II Community Vaccination Centers were opening in Boston and Newark, N.J.

Jeff Zients, coordinator of the White House COVID-19 Response, said the three new sites were an effort to offer more federally-run mass vaccination centers.

"Together, these three new sites (in Boston, Norfolk, and Newark) are capable of administering 15,000 doses a day, and we’re meeting people where they are," said Zients. 

Federal officials said they chose to expand vaccination efforts in Norfolk due to the city's socioeconomic vulnerabilities.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) identified Norfolk's need through its Social Vulnerability Index. It found Norfolk was a city in which communities will most likely need support before, during and after a hazardous event. 

The index looks at factors such as socioeconomic status, household composition, minority status, languages, housing type and transportation.

Anyone who wants to receive a vaccine at the Military Circle Mall CVC must pre-register and wait until they're notified about an appointment. The site is not allowing walk-ups. 

You can pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine at vaccinate.virginia.gov or by calling (877) VAX-IN-VA.