(FOX 5 DC) - It was only a few months ago when many health departments within the DMV couldn't even keep up with vaccine demand. But some health officials now say as COVID cases are continuing to decline in addition to the rate of hospitalizations, they are beginning to closing most of their mass vaccination sites.
Some of them include the Tysons Community Vaccination Center located inside of the former Lord and Taylor store that was converted into a mass vaccination site back in April. Saturday, June 26, is the last day people can receive a COVID-19 vaccine until 5:30 p.m. at that location.
Another mass vaccination site that is slated to close Saturday, is located at Gander Mountain in Woodbridge.
Tammie Smith with the Virginia Department of Health said local health districts, separately, are continuing to operate walk-in clinics. Loudoun County Center at Dulles Town Center remains open. The Prince William Health District location at Manassas Mall remains open as well, but by appointment only.
Even with most mass vaccination sites closing in the DMV, the department said that private clinics, urgent cares, doctor offices and grocery stores, and pop-ups will continue to administer the vaccine.
While cases remain at their lowest levels since the early days of the pandemic and hospitalizations for treatment of the virus are also at record lows, Fox 5’s Ayesha Khan spoke with Dr. Jennifer Primeggia, an infectious disease physician at the Virginia Hospital Center about whether she believes if health departments may need to go back to launching mass vaccination sites if the Delta variant becomes rapidly prevalent within the DMV.
"I don’t think so, I think we are just trying to target a select population, so we’re looking at that 30 percent population who has not yet gotten the vaccine," said Primeggia. "In my own clinic, I’ve seen patients where they’re just not able get to the grocery store because it’s not that simple, so if we can take the vaccine to them, take it into those communities then we can reach more people."
Khan also checked in with Melissa Riddy, Director of the Eastern Region Government and Community Relations at Inova Health System, who said that next Thursday, July 1, will be the last day of operation at the Inova Stonebridge Vaccination Center on Eisenhower Avenue. She said the center is currently accepting walk-ins and will close the doors at 3:15 p.m. that afternoon.
Over in Montgomery County, the mass vaccination site at Montgomery College in Germantown, closes on July 2.
"So while we’re closing mass vaccination sites, it allows for more flexibility to enter the communities and to target specific patient groups that haven’t been able to make it to those facilities," said Primeggia. "So we are talking about pop-up clinics or more availability at the grocery store and really penetrating those communities that didn’t have access to those sites, so it’s just a change of strategy but the goal is still the same."