(RICHMOND, VA) – The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced today that some health districts will begin the transition to Phase 1c vaccinations this week, and that all communities across Virginia should be able to open to this group of essential workers within weeks.
The decision to move from one phase to the next is made in coordination with local and state health officials and is dependent upon a variety of factors. Before moving to 1c, local health departments must have made strong efforts to reach all those eligible in 1a and 1b populations, particularly communities that have been disproportionately impacted, such as communities of color. Local health departments also must consider whether demand for vaccine has decreased among 1a and 1b populations.
“Finally, the light at the end of this long journey seems to be coming into view,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A. “Vaccine is our best hope of ending the pandemic. My heartfelt thanks to the many Virginians who are signing up and getting vaccinated and for the health care workers and volunteers who are administering vaccines.”
“It is important that everyone who falls in one of the priority groups outlined in phases 1a-1c, including Virginians who are 65 and older, essential workers, and those 16-64 with underlying health conditions, get signed up on the state’s pre-registration list as soon as possible,” said Danny Avula, MD, MPH Virginia’s COVID Vaccine Coordinator. “In some communities, those on that pre-registration list will be contacted in days, not weeks, to schedule an appointment for your vaccine.”
Virginia began vaccinating healthcare personnel and people living in long-term care facilities in December, before moving to Phase 1b in January. Phase 1b includes those 65 and older, those 16-64 with underlying medical conditions and some frontline essential workers. Phase 1c includes additional essential workers, including those in the energy, construction, food services and other fields. Overlap of vaccination of groups may occur to ensure people in each phase are vaccinated as quickly and efficiently as possible. A full list of those included in each phase is available on the VDH vaccine website.
All communities are expected to move into Phase 1c by mid-April. Anyone over age 16 who lives or works in Virginia will be eligible for a vaccine in Phase 2, which is expected to begin by May 1.
Anyone who wants a vaccine should pre-register for an appointment by visiting vaccinate.virginia.gov or by calling 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682) from 8 a.m.-8p.m., seven days a week. Representatives are available in English and Spanish, and translation is available in any of more than 100 languages. TTY dial 7-1-1.
Those who have pre-registered should check the list at vaccinate.virginia.gov or by calling the call center to ensure their information is accurate. Incomplete or inaccurate information could result in you not being contacted for an appointment.
If you are pre-registered, make sure you are checking your email and answering your phone because it could be an invitation to schedule your appointment.
For more information about Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, visit: www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/.