Cat Long FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- JAN 15, 2020
RHHD Launch New Programs and Partnerships to Vaccinate Phase 1b
RICHMOND, VA – Governor Northam announced on Thursday, January 14th that individuals who are aged 65+ or have comorbidities will qualify to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1b in Virginia. In response, Richmond and Henrico Health Districts (RHHD) are expanding vaccination programming to begin offering vaccination opportunities to all of Phase 1b individuals by the end of January. Vaccinations of people aged 65 or older and the first three groups of Phase 1b frontline essential workers (specifically: 1. Police, Fire, and Hazmat, 2. Corrections and homeless shelter workers, 3. Childcare/K-12 Teachers/Staff) will begin on Monday, January 18th. Remaining frontline essential workers and individuals with comorbidities in Richmond and Henrico will be offered the opportunity for vaccination later this month.
Thus far, RHHD has distributed about 36,000 vaccines for Phase 1a populations through a combination of vaccination events and distributing vaccines to other healthcare providers. Consistent with vaccine supply availability, Richmond and Henrico Health Districts will implement vaccination programming to serve priority Phase 1b populations (listed below) in addition to continuing Phase 1a efforts. As programming and partnerships expand, RHHD will update this list and include the rest of the Phase 1b populations, meeting the Commonwealth-wide goal of offering all Phase 1b vaccinations by the end of January.
- Adults aged 65+: RHHD will open its on-going vaccination events to adults aged 65+ in the coming weeks. Our Phase 1b interest form is now accessible to those who are aged 65+. RHHD is also coordinating additional venues for adults aged 65+ to get vaccinated through primary care providers and pharmacies. Large primary care providers in our area, including the safety net providers, are receiving shipments of COVID-19 vaccines to vaccinate their existing 65+ year old patient populations. These providers will reach out to their patients directly. This program will expand and more providers will become eligible to administer vaccines to their qualified patients. Additionally, RHHD has developed partnerships with small and large pharmacy chains to offer storefront vaccinations to adults aged 65+. We will share more details on pharmacy partnerships next week.
- Police, Fire, and Hazmat (Phase 1b, Group 1): Three large-scale regional events planned by Henrico County, RHHD, Chickahominy Health District, and Chesterfield Health District will vaccinate police, fire, and hazmat next week.
- Corrections and homeless shelter workers & residents (Phase 1b, Group 2): RHHD is starting a mobile vaccination clinic that will travel to correctional facilities to vaccinate staff and residents who desire to get their first dose. We have also coordinated with our partners at Daily Planet Health Services to administer vaccines to homeless shelters staff and residents. These programs are expected to launch by the end of January, if not sooner.
- Childcare / PreK-12 Teachers / Staff (Phase 1b, Group 3): Employees of public school systems in Richmond, Henrico, Chickahominy, and Chesterfield will be able to register for next week’s large-scale regional vaccination events and are receiving directions from their employers now.
Consistent with the Governor’s goals, the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts will begin opening up their Phase 1b vaccination process to people aged 16–64 with comorbidities and frontline essential workers in Phase 1b Groups 4–9 by the end of January. Access to vaccination will depend on the available supply of the vaccine.
The programming listed above greatly expands the vaccination capacity for not only Richmond and Henrico but for the region and lays the groundwork for continued opportunities for everyone who wants a vaccine to get one. Of these expanded efforts, Dr. Melissa Viray, Acting Director of the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts, said “Our teams are working diligently to expand accessibility to COVID-19 vaccines, especially for those who are most severely affected or are facing direct exposure to this disease.”
About Richmond and Henrico Health Districts: RCHD and HCHD are sister public health agencies serving Richmond and Henrico’s communities. Our mission is to expose and address the root causes of health disparities, protect health by preventing the spread of disease, and build health equity by partnering with communities and working collaboratively across sectors.