The Virginia Department of Health opened its first mass vaccination site Wednesday in Northern Virginia.
The site is located at the old Gander Mountain store in Woodbridge and is not open to the public. Instead, the health department is scheduling people who already registered for appointments.
Walmart is operating the clinic and is able to administer about 600 shots a day.
Walmart is receiving vaccine doses directly from the federal government’s pharmacy partnerships just like CVS and Walgreens, but Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said there have been some challenges.
“We're using the Pfizer vaccination today but getting out into the communities, that's what the challenge is,” Northam said.
Instead of setting up clinics at Walmart stores, state officials asked Walmart to set up mass clinics at various sites around the state for a few days at a time.
Woodbridge was selected because of how difficult it was to get people in the Prince William Health District vaccinated. Compared to the rest of Northern Virginia, the Prince William District has vaccinated the fewest people per 100,000 residents.
Data shows that the health district does have the most COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents of any in the entire state.
The Prince William Health District declined to do an interview about why vaccine rollout is moving so slowly, but in recent weeks, the health director said a large number of eligible people have turned down the vaccine.
Many hope that additional clinics open like the one in Woodbridge and can begin to put Prince William’s district on track with the rest of the region.
The mass vaccination site in Woodbridge will be open through Saturday and the Virginia Department of Health said Walmart will set up a mass clinic in Loudoun County next week.