April 9, 2021: As of April 9, Richmond and Henrico Health Districts will begin opening appointments for residents in Phase 2, which includes any person age 16 and older. This is a major milestone in our fight against the pandemic, and we appreciate the patience many of you have shown as we have focused the early months of our vaccination efforts on our most vulnerable residents. While vaccinating so many of our neighbors will still take time, the entire staff of Richmond and Henrico Health Districts is thrilled to be able to offer the vaccine to anyone age 16 and older who wants to receive it in the weeks and months ahead.
Why did we decide to move on to Phase 2?
Richmond and Henrico Health Districts currently are able to supply vaccines to many pharmacies, clinics, and primary care providers throughout our region as well as offer appointments through our own mass vaccination events, Community Hubs, and mobile clinics. Richmond and Henrico Health Districts will continue to prioritize vaccination for individuals in Phases 1a, 1b, and 1c who have pre-registered through Vaccinate Virginia and will offer available appointments to any pre-registered person. However, our current number of doses can accommodate additional appointments beyond the numbers of people in Phase 1 who have pre-registered, so we are opening up Phase 2 to serve the broader community. Read below for more on how doses will be allocated between these different Phase 1 and Phase 2 groups.
Anyone in any phase who has not pre-registered for the vaccine should go to vaccinate.virginia.gov and pre-register right away. Pre-registration takes five minutes and will ensure that an appointment is made available to you in the coming weeks, though you may also choose to pursue an appointment by locating a provider on Vaccine Finder. All Richmond and Henrico residents should take whichever vaccination appointment is offered to them first—whether through the Health District, a primary care provider, pharmacy, or one of our other partners.
How will vaccine appointments be prioritized now that more people are eligible?
While we are now opening appointments to people in Phase 2, we have not yet vaccinated all residents who are Phases 1a, 1b, or 1c. In the weeks ahead, we will continue to allocate a certain percentage of our available doses to residents 65+, essential workers and people with underlying conditions in Phases 1a and 1b, and Phase 1c essential workers, with the remaining doses allocated for Phase 2. As we vaccinate more people in Phase 1, the percentage of doses dedicated to Phase 2 will grow week by week.
Available doses will be offered through appointments at our large-scale vaccination events, Community Hubs, mobile events serving priority communities, and partners such as pharmacies and primary care providers.
Our current vaccine supply allows us to offer appointments to residents with 15% of doses allocated to individuals aged 65 and older, 15% allocated to individuals in Phases 1a and 1b, 35% of doses allocated to Phase 1c essential workers, and 35% allocated to individuals in Phase 2. However, if vaccine supply fluctuates or is temporarily limited in the future, state and local health departments will continue to ensure residents with the greatest risk are cared for first. If supply is limited, Richmond and Henrico Health Districts and our partners will review a number of factors to ensure that those who are most likely to become severely ill if infected, live in communities where the burden of infection is greatest, or face other significant barriers to equitable care have priority access to the vaccine. Prioritization factors will include (as relevant):
- Age (older residents will be vaccinated sooner)
- Race and ethnicity (Black, Hispanic/Latinx, and American Indian or Alaska Native residents will receive priority)
- Burden of disease (infection, hospitalization, and death rates) in the area where a person lives
- Social Vulnerability Index Score (SVI) of the area where a person lives
- Level of work-based exposure.
How will we accommodate so many people seeking the vaccine once Phase 2 is open?
Richmond and Henrico Health Districts are partnering with a rich network of providers who will offer the vaccine to their patients as well as the broader community. Providers will include pharmacies, primary care providers, outpatient specialty clinics, health systems, urgent care centers, and safety net clinics.
The growing number of community providers will make it possible for Richmond and Henrico Health Districts to focus on our most vulnerable communities where residents may have limited access to the technology or transportation they need to register for and receive the vaccine. We will continue to partner with faith-based communities and local service organizations to stand up Community Hub sites as well as additional mobile vaccination clinics as needed.
We will also continue to hold large-scale events at the Richmond Raceway, George Wythe High School, and other locations throughout the region for the broader public, which will ensure space for thousands of vaccination appointments per week on average.
As the number of providers and eligible residents increases, our registration process will also change. In the coming weeks, updated registration tools will launch that will make it possible for anyone who wants the vaccine to find an appointment at pharmacies, grocery stores, etc. without waiting for a call or email from the health department. A link will also be available on our website where any eligible person can schedule an appointment directly at one of our events.
Rest assured, anyone who has filled out the pre-registration form will be contacted by the health department—either by email or by phone—to ensure that everyone who wants the vaccine is given the opportunity.
How do I get vaccinated?
Anyone interested in receiving a vaccination should fill out the pre-registration form at vaccinate.virginia.gov. If you have already pre-registered, you can visit the Vaccinate Virginia site anytime to confirm your status and ensure your information is complete and up to date. Pre-registered individuals will receive an email with a registration link or phone call to make a vaccination appointment. If you or someone you know is unable to pre-register through the Vaccinate Virginia website, call 1-877-VAX-IN-VA (1-877-829-4682) and a representative can help you through the process. Help is available in English and Spanish, with callback options in 100 other languages.
Additionally, we are working on an updated appointment registration tool that will allow individuals to make an appointment without waiting for an email or phone call from the health department. Until that tool is available, we encourage you to pre-register or use Vaccine Finder to identify providers near you that may have available vaccine doses and then try to schedule an appointment on individual provider websites.
Ultimately, the best appointment for you is whichever one is available to you first, so please take the first opportunity you can to get the COVID-19 vaccine!