On Saturday, April 3 Henrico County administered its 100,000th COVID-19 vaccination at Richmond Raceway. The milestone moment happened more than two months after efforts began at the raceway complex.
Tom Leonard, a Henrico resident and owner of Tom Leonard’s Farmer’s Market scored the 100,000th dose. “I’m very grateful to be here to have my second shot. I feel good about this,” he said.
Leonard acknowledged how fortunate he feels that while keeping his store open during the pandemic, none of his employees got really sick from the virus. “We’re pretty happy there’s a light at the end of the tunnel now,” he added.
“We’re incredibly proud of the work that led us to this moment,” said Jackson Baynard, director of emergency management for Henrico County. “The ability to give 100,000 shots is only possible because of our public and private partnerships.”
Henrico joined forces with Richmond Raceway, Westwood Pharmacy and the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts (RHHD) to open the regional vaccination site on Jan. 19. Since then, 77% of Henrico residents 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Thousands of others included in phases 1a, 1b and 1c have been fully vaccinated.
“We are grateful to play a part in the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts’ long-term efforts to help vaccinate Virginia,” said Dennis Bickmeier, President, Richmond Raceway. “Our staff has been dedicated to this mission with our local partners each day since we began hosting mass vaccinations at the Richmond Raceway Complex in January. As we welcome fans back to Richmond Raceway on April 17-18, we know this effort has been integral in helping open our gates for the first time in 18 months.”
Mark Oley, CEO of Westwood Pharmacy, also acknowledged the key role partnerships have played in the effort.
“During these trying and unscripted times it has been very comforting that Westwood Pharmacy has been able to collaborate with Henrico County, the Virginia Department of Health and the raceway,” Oley said. “Through concerted efforts we are progressing toward herd immunity and the ability to vaccinate all members of our community who wish to be vaccinated. One-hundred thousand vaccinations is certainly a significant milestone, but it is just the beginning of what is required for us to get back to our lives pre-pandemic.”
Vaccination efforts at the raceway have expanded dramatically since they started, when Henrico County Public Schools nurses administered a couple thousand doses per day. With the efforts of dozens of volunteers from the community and added support from the Virginia National Guard, efforts have ramped up to vaccinate as many as 7,000 people in a single day. “Our team continues to build capacity and we are prepared to do 10,000 vaccines a day if the supply is available. We look forward to continued partnerships to help our community push through this pandemic,” said Baynard.