WRIC, TYLER THRASHER, JORDAN BONDURANT
Joined by Richmond Raceway President Dennis Bickmeier and U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, Henrico resident Tom Leonard, owner of Tom Leonard’s Farmer’s Market, was recognized as the recipient of the Richmond Henrico Health Districts’ 100,000th COVID-19 shot at Richmond Raceway on Saturday.
The milestone comes after the RHHD, Richmond Raceway and Westwood Pharmacy joined forces to begin hosting vaccination events on Jan. 19.
“I go back to a couple of months ago to a phone call on a Saturday morning from Jackson Baynard, the Henrico Emergency Manager, saying ‘hey can we set up a couple of vaccination events at the racetrack? Sure, no problem!’ And that has led to almost four or five times a week,” Dennis Bickmeier, President of Richmond Raceway said.
Now, they are reaching milestones Bickmeier said he never could have imagined.
The total capacity of Richmond International Raceway is around 50,000 people, according to Bickmeier — and now the health districts have vaccinated enough people to fill the raceway twice.
Tom Leonard came to get his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine and didn’t realize he was walking into a celebration.
“I’m very grateful to be here to have my second shot,” Leonard said. “I feel good about this.”
“We’re incredibly proud of the work that led us to this moment,” said Jackson Baynard, director of emergency management for Henrico County. “The ability to give 100,000 shots is only possible because of our public and private partnerships.
Since January, 77% of Henrico residents aged 65 and older have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.
United States Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) was in attendance at the award ceremony and said this milestone is significant but there are still more shots that need to go into arms.
“They are in the 1c category. Everyone can sign up on the VDH website,” Spanberger said. “That’s an exciting milestone knowing that, in this point in time, we have reached a point where every age group can come through and get vaccinated.”
The Virginia Department of Health reported that as of April 3, 1,467,640 Virginians have been fully vaccinated, with 2,704,038 people receiving at least one dose.
“Getting the vaccine is the number one thing that people can do to make sure they are protecting themselves, their family and the community,” Spanberger added. “We have had 100,000 Virginians right here at this location get vaccinated. Across the Commonwealth, we have had millions of our neighbors who have gotten the vaccine.”