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‘We’re not going to get out of this pandemic with boosters’ | Health leaders continue push for first doses in Virginia

More than 5,700,000 Virginians have received at least one dose of the three available vaccines.

HAMPTON, Va. — Hampton mom Shameka Copeland said she had waited long enough.

“I’m going to do it, and I finally did it,” Copeland excitedly screamed.

After a year and a half living through the pandemic, Copeland felt it was her time to do what she thought was the right thing. 

“The right thing is that if scientists, doctors, the FDA is saying ‘This is what we need to do’, then it has to be the right thing to do,” Copeland said.

Until Friday afternoon, Copeland was not alone as one of the millions of Americans that remained unvaccinated against COVID-19. 

She says now, she’s reached a breaking point, reinforced by the countless stories she’s seen of unvaccinated people either contracting the virus or being hospitalized. 

“Just do it! Just like the Nike sign, ‘Just do it,’” Copeland laughed.

While Virginia saw a slight drop in new COVID-19 cases Friday, the state added 2,800 new infections and 2,100 are in hospitals across the state.

With the high number of cases in the commonwealth, communities are still pushing for people to get tested and vaccinated. 

Copeland received the first dose of her Pfizer vaccine at a joint rapid testing-vaccine clinic in Hampton at Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church, one of two joint clinics on Friday.

While millions of Virginians are fully vaccinated, the focus is still on administering first doses.

“Today is a good day, anytime we can get first doses,” Chief Pharmacy Officer for Riverside Health Cynthia Williams said.

According to Williams, 5 of the clinics roughly 7 vaccination patients received the first dose. While that may not seem like a large number, the bigger impact is how many more people those five first dose patients can now influence to get their dose.

“All of the experts agree, we’re not going to get out of this pandemic with boosters. It’ll help, but that’s not the path forward,” Williams said.

More than five million Virginians are considered “fully vaccinated” according to the Virginia Department of Health.