Loudoun County, Virginia’s, top elected official is leading by example and rolling up her sleeves to encourage residents to get the coronavirus vaccine.
Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Phyllis Randall asked a handful of people to join her in getting vaccinated, including 18-year-old food service worker Ryan Delgado, who is now eligible as part of the county’s Phase 1c rollout.
“You make a phone call and you go, ‘Hi! This is the chair of the county. Want to get vaccinated with me?’ So, I did that yesterday and people were like, ‘Are you serious?’” Randall said with a laugh.
Delgado joined Randall in receiving the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine on Tuesday.
“I think it’s important that he’s here because there has been a misunderstanding that people who are young don’t get COVID, can’t pass COVID and don’t need the vaccine — that’s not true,” Randall said. “They can get it and they can certainly pass it on — especially to their older loved ones.”
Randall said it sends a powerful message to have a teenager seek vaccination immediately upon his group becoming eligible. Several other Northern Virginia jurisdictions also entered vaccination Phase 1c this week or announced intentions to do so soon.
At the Tuesday event, County Health Director Dr. David Goodfriend offered some insight into the team effort involved in accelerating the pace of vaccinations.
He said the “marching orders” from the very beginning of the virus response effort have been to do whatever is needed — the county as a whole is available to get it done.
“We’re very fortunate to have this great location at the Dulles Town Center that can vaccinate as many people as we have vaccine to give,” Goodfriend said.
“At Dulles Town Center you’ll see some Health Department staff, you’ll see a lot more Medical Reserve Corp staff wearing teal shirts, you’ll see a bunch of folks in Fire Rescue uniforms and then there are a bunch of other people who are employees of various other county departments — all coming together, again — to make the operation work.”
Goodfriend looks forward to the county moving into Phase 2 of vaccinations for the general population. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam recently announced everyone in the state will be eligible to be vaccinated starting April 18.
“The quicker we can get people vaccinated, the quicker we get that herd immunity so we can go back to that sense of normalcy,” Goodfriend said.
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