Loudoun County supervisors and Leesburg restaurateur Curtis Allred are the latest to try demonstrate confidence in COVID-19 vaccines by getting their shots publicly.
On Tuesday, county supervisors and Allred were at a press conference in the county boardroom to both talk about vaccination and get their shots in front of the cameras. They were joined by several other people in the newly eligible Phase 1c group, including 18-year-old Ryan Delgado, who works at Starbucks and, as a food service worker, is now eligible for a vaccine.
“I think it’s important that he’s here, because there has been a misunderstanding that people who are young don’t get COVID, and don’t need the vaccine,” said County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large), who also got a shot Tuesday. “That’s not true. They can get it, and they can certainly pass it on to their older loved ones.”
It is the latest of several events where Loudoun’s health and elected officials have tried to lead by example, getting vaccinated in front of cameras to encourage others to get the vaccine. Health departments and emergency services department heads arranged to get their first shots in front of reporters’ cameras on the first day of vaccinations in Loudoun in December, and on March 30 Loudoun’s mayors did the same outside the Purcellville town hall, also showing up to support the April 6 event.
Also in attendance were volunteers working to get the vaccine to people who might have trouble accessing it. Randall thanked people like the two representatives from New Virginia Majority who attended.
“There’s been a lot of discussion about equity issues and making sure that the vaccines are given in an equitable fashion in Loudoun County,” Randall said. “We’ve done a very good job of that, and we’ve done it with the help of partners. The New Virginia Majority, who are represented with us today, the NAACP, the ADAMS mosque have all had large vaccination events, and they take them out to people who probably wouldn’t come in and they have a hard time getting here.”
Health experts and government leaders at all levels have emphasized that the only way to safely end mask mandates and social distancing, and to fully reopen society, is to get enough people vaccinated to stop the spread of the virus—and protect the people unable or just unwilling to get vaccinated.
“The quicker we can get people vaccinated, the quicker we get that herd immunity so we can go back to a sense of normalcy,” said Health Department Director Dr. David Goodfriend.
“The past year has been horrible, and there’s no way to say it any different,” Randall said. “I come in every day and right about 11:30, the numbers from the previous day come in […] It is a very tough thing to come in every day and one of your daily duties is to check and see how many people in your county have died, because what you know is, those are real people. Those are not just numbers—that’s somebody’s mother or father, their papa or grandma or sister or brother, they’re real human beings.”
As of Tuesday, according to the Virginia Department of Health, nearly 127,000 Loudoun residents had received at least one dose and 63,000 were fully vaccinated.