Reaching out to the community 

Published 7:16 pm Friday, September 17, 2021

Another vaccine clinic was held to make sure no corner of Suffolk is left behind in the push to vaccinate everyone.

Suffolk Chapter 5 of the Disabled American Veterans held its first vaccination clinic from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 17. Even though the walk-ins started slow, some had made appointments to get their first dose of the vaccine.

“We are trying to give back to the community, especially in this area where we have several apartment complexes for people to walk over from to get vaccinated,” said Commander Murphy Coleman.

Giving out the vaccines was the Hampton University Mobile Health Unit. This health unit travels all around Hampton Roads to give out the Pfizer vaccine to those 12 and up. The unit travels to businesses, churches and other organizations to help folks overcome the barrier of being unable to get to a clinic. The unit also provides appointments and walk-ups for older folks who are most susceptible to the virus but have trouble securing an appointment online.

In light of Suffolk Public Schools requiring students to be vaccinated to do sports or extracurricular activities, Coleman and Hampton University pharmacist Dr. Aviance Lewis hope that parents will take advantage of this opportunity to get their children vaccinated.

“It’s part of doing our part to shield us first and then those around us,” said Lewis. “We have to do our part to protect the younger ones.”

According to Lewis, she sees the vaccine as a shield that protects you first so you can protect others. She compared it to a flight where you have to put your oxygen mask on before helping others. With many myths and contradicting ideas about the vaccine floating around the internet, Lewis is prepared to educate the vaccine hesitant, and debunk any myths they may believe.

“As a Suffolkian, I am proud to come and serve my community,” said Lewis. “It brings me great joy to do that and partner with the DAV and thank the vets for doing what they did for us.”

Luckily, even through COVID-19 lockdowns, the DAV was able to keep its doors open and help veterans. Veterans had to make appointments but could still come to make disability claims, get help for utility bills and other things that affect their daily lives. Hosting this clinic is just one more way to help those who need it.

“It was very beneficial for us to stay open,” Coleman said.

The Hampton University mobile unit will return for the second dose on Oct. 8.