VMI Supports Community Vaccination Effort
LEXINGTON, Va., March 12, 2021—Virginia Military Institute is assisting with setup and staffing of a mass vaccination effort against COVID-19, supporting vaccine administration that starts today at the former Peebles/Gordmans building located at 770 North Lee Highway in the College Square Shopping Center.
The initiative comes as vaccine supply is increasing nationwide, with a consequent push to deliver vaccines as quickly and efficiently as possible. With this goal in mind, Rockbridge County has leased the former department store building from its owner, Harding & Associates, through the end of June, with an extension possible if needed. The county will apply for FEMA reimbursement for all costs associated with the vaccination center.
With vaccine administration set to begin Friday, March 12, VMI provided assistance the day before by loaning 20 tables and 150 chairs, along with manpower to set them up. Assisting with this effort were Col. Kevin Faust ’96, deputy commandant for support; Maj. Eric Schwartz ’95, deputy director, Physical Plant; and Larry Camper, chief of maintenance and operations, Physical Plant, along with nearly 10 cadets from the Building BRIDGES service club.
The new location will supplement Carilion Rockbridge Community Hospital and the Rockbridge Area Health Center as administration sites for the vaccine. No walk-ins will be accepted at any location. Individuals must still sign up, either online or by telephone, and will be notified when a vaccine is available for them.
To register for the vaccine, please visit https://vaccinate.virginia.gov/ or call 1-877- VAX-IN-VA (1-877-829-4682) - available 7 days a week, 8 AM – 8 PM. English and Spanish accessible.
Col. Jay Williams ’83, VMI director of emergency management, praised the quick, cooperative local effort to set up a vaccine clinic, which came together inside of a week.
“It was a total team effort,” said Williams, who has been in constant contact with several regional partners over the past year as the COVID-19 situation has evolved. “Everyone, and I mean everyone, stepped up and told Spencer Suter [Rockbridge County administrator] that they stood ready to help in any way. This is what I love about our community. Starting today, our ability to put vaccines in arms is going to take off.”