This year in quarantine has been taxing on all of us, and many of the organizations in our Hampton Roads community have been banding together to help give back to those who need it. Several months ago, when COVID-19 vaccines were first becoming more widely available, Issuetrak partnered with Wagner Macula & Retina Center, one of the organizations in our office building, to provide the space for a temporary vaccine clinic.
“Ever since Covid started, we had been thinking about ways to help in the pandemic, but as a software company, our options were limited,” said Taylor Ross, VP of Operations for Issuetrak. “Some of us volunteered at the local food banks to give back. When Wagner approached us to provide space for the vaccination clinic, we couldn't help but be excited about the possibility to help the community. They have really brought a sense of community to the location and we cannot thank them enough for allowing us to be a part of this initiative.”
Wagner Macula & Retina Center offers ophthalmology and eye care services, specializing in diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, eye tumors, and more. Their team is dedicated to providing sight-saving care to their patients and the community at large.
The vaccine clinic has been a great success, serving thousands from its Norfolk, VA location. We spoke with Elisha Jordan, Wagner’s Director of Marketing, and Matt Vallevand, Director of the Center’s Mobile Eye Clinic, about how the project came to be and what other ways their organization is giving back.
What made your team want to set up the clinic?
This has been a mission statement of ours since the inception of the company, something we’ve focused on from day one: “Where you need us, when you need us.” From eye care to anything else. Our doctors are known for their community outreach. They never turn someone down. So when we heard about the vaccine -- being part of the healthcare system, we were some of the first to get the vaccine, but there was a big need to get the rest of the population vaccinated.
We’re experienced at giving shots, and we’re adaptable. There was a need, and we had the ability to be able to help. So we will help -- no matter what the cost is. And that’s sort of where it all began. We just sat down and decided there was a need in the community.
What was the process for getting everything set up and running?
It all began through the Virginia Department of Health, filling out the technical forms. Once you fill out those forms, the process is a lot of phone calls: asking for information, providing info, making sure on an operational standpoint people are taking care of the details. We needed to find someone to partner with for the location -- this is where Issuetrak came in.
After that, we needed to communicate with the local health departments. We place vaccine orders through them. We also needed storage, and people that can vaccinate, but also people to draw the vaccine and Doctors or PAs to watch over the clinic itself.
Once we realized the process, we realized what needs we had for staffing. We had some people already who could volunteer and help out, and from there we reached out to other doctor’s offices, asking if they could volunteer some of their folks as well. In general, we made it work through a huge community effort.
Pariser Dermatology helped us out a lot as well. They provided plenty of assistance and volunteers. We really appreciate their support -- the results have been awesome.
Has the clinic been successful? How many vaccines have been administered?
Yes. As of Wednesday, May 12th, the volunteers at the clinic have administered 4,064 vaccinations and served 2,141 individuals.
How else does Wagner give back to the community?
In addition to the vaccine clinic, we offer free eye screenings to anyone who came into the clinic. We have an initiative called “Sight Forever” - this is something the doctors started. Matt oversees this project -- we go out into communities to places like retirement homes, churches, and community centers and deliver care directly to people. All completely for free, throughout Hampton Roads. COVID put a bit of a damper on it but we’ve recently picked it back up.
The big thing about it is that we know there’s eye disease out in these communities that people aren’t aware of, so we’re trying to target high risk areas and populations and work with organizations that have access to those people to get them the treatment that they need.
Visit Wagner Macula & Retina Center’s website to learn more about the organization and the ophthalmology services their specialists provide to the Hampton Roads region.
We also thank Pariser Dermatology Specialists for their support and volunteer work at the clinic.
About Ashlyn Frassinelli