Richmond and Henrico Health Districts resume Johnson and Johnson vaccine use. 

April 30, 2021- Following the new FDA and CDC guidelines, Richmond and Henrico Health Districts (RHHD) are resuming use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at their clinics —starting with the homebound vaccination program—on Friday, April 30th.

Although the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine’s possible side effect of thrombosis (blood clot) is serious, it impacts a very small portion of individuals—about 2 in a million vaccine doses. A review of all available data at this time shows that the J&J vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks.

Women younger than 50 years old should be aware of the rare but increased risk of this adverse event and that there are other COVID-19 vaccine options available (Pfizer and Moderna) for which this risk has not been seen. RHHD will continue to offer a choice of vaccine to our residents and ensure those choosing to receive J & J will get the updated information regarding the blood clot side effect.

RHHD highly recommends all three vaccines as safe and effective.

Which vaccine is right for me?

MARCH 1, 2021- The right vaccine is whichever vaccine you have access to first!

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines. Both use the same process and although some minor ingredients are slightly different between the two, they do the same thing in your body. They are both safe and effective. Both are approximately 95% effective at preventing symptomatic illness and about 100% effective at preventing severe disease that would lead to hospitalization. 

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine uses an adenovirus as the base to hold a single protein from SARS-CoV2 on its surface. Adenoviruses are common in humans and the one that is used as the base cannot replicate once it’s inside your body or make you sick. It just serves as a platform to hold the SARS-CoV2 S protein. Your immune system will see the protein and build defenses against it. This way, if you are ever infected with the real thing, your body will destroy the virus before you get sick. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine has been shown to be 72% effective in the US at preventing symptomatic illness, 85% effective at preventing severe disease, and 100% effective at preventing hospitalization and death. Only one dose is needed for this vaccine, which means that more doses will be available to more people, and it is a solution for those who may have barriers to accessing vaccination sites. There have also not been any reports of severe side effects or allergic reactions in recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Vaccination protects you and those around you. Delaying vaccination delays that protection and extends the duration of the pandemic. No vaccine offers perfect immunity from symptomatic illness, but Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines do prevent severe disease that leads to hospitalization and death, so on the very low chance you were to get sick after vaccination, you would still be protected from the worst consequences of COVID-19. The longer COVID-19 circulates, the risk of new variants arising increases. By being vaccinated, you are protecting yourself and your loved ones, as well as participating in the solution for the whole world.


What about allergic reactions and side effects?

While minor reactions to vaccination are relatively common (such as tenderness at the injection site and short-term, low-grade fever), severe allergic reactions are quite rare at approximately 11 out of 1,000,000 for the COVID mRNA vaccines. No severe allergic reactions have been reported for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines contain polyethylene glycol (PEG), which keeps the vaccine stable. Many FDA-approved products contain PEG, such as medicines (i.e., Miralax, herceptin), hand creams, and foods (salad dressings, cake mix, popcorn). People known to be allergic to PEG or polysorbate (a different molecule that is similar to PEG) should speak with their allergist before receiving the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. 



Both mRNA and the Johnson and Johnson vaccines show efficacy against the variants of concern. The best way to fight these and future variants is to have an immune population, so current variants can’t spread and new variants can’t occur. 

Statewide Vaccine Pre-registration System Launching February 16

Feb. 12, 2021 – The Commonwealth of Virginia is planning to launch a statewide vaccine pre-registration system to provide a unified and comprehensive process for people in Virginia to pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine. As a result, the Virginia Department of Health has directed all local health districts to close their interest forms and surveys at 5:00 PM on Friday, February 12, and replace them at 8:00 AM on Tuesday, February 16 with a link to the new statewide system. In the interim, individuals who have already filled out an interest form will be imported to the new system and pre-registration will be temporarily unavailable throughout Virginia.

All individuals who have previously filled out an interest form or signed up for a waitlist to be vaccinated through their local health district will be automatically imported into the new statewide system. Individuals will be able to verify that they are in the new system starting Tuesday morning. will continue to have the most up-to-date information and links to the new statewide pre-registration system once the Commonwealth activates it next week. In the meantime, the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts will continue to vaccinate individuals who have filled out our vaccination interest forms through regional events, our own clinics, and mobile vaccination events. We anticipate no pause in our operations as a result of this change from the State.

Feb. 10, 2021 NOTICE: More information about CVS and the COVID-19 vaccine

Feb. 10, 2021 NOTICE: More information about CVS and the COVID-19 vaccine

In addition to the Richmond and Henrico Health District’s ongoing vaccination efforts, CVS has opened up online registration for a limited number of vaccination appointments at one area CVS. These appointments will be reserved for individuals aged 65 and older. This is part of a federal vaccination program, and CVS will not preregister individuals who have already filled out RHHD’s vaccine interests forms due to CVS technological limitations. These limited appointments are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Individuals who have already filled out one of RHHD’s vaccine interest forms (at can still register for an appointment with CVS and will still remain in our system until vaccinated—either through CVS or one of the other pathways to vaccination. Please take whichever vaccination opportunity comes first!

While available, appointments with CVS can be made on the CVS website or by calling (800) 746-7287.

Addressing the limited supply of vaccine

January 22, 2021- This week, Richmond and Henrico Health Districts learned that, as a result of problems with our national supply chain, the number of COVID vaccine doses we receive over the next 6-8 weeks will be extremely limited. This has impacted the supply of vaccine across the state and across the country. Governor Northam is working with President Biden’s COVID task force to address this shortage and ensure that Virginia receives all the doses we need as soon as possible. Until then, we are adjusting our vaccine distribution plan to account for the temporarily limited supply. 

We understand that a slowdown in what already feels like a very long process will be frustrating to many people. Please be assured that this shortage is temporary and we expect to be able to implement our full-scale vaccination plan soon. 

In the weeks ahead, Richmond area health districts will continue to vaccinate eligible residents in Phases 1a and specific groups within Phase 1b (teachers and school staff, police, and adults 65 and older). Our community partners who have already received vaccine supplies also will continue to administer their remaining doses. Here are a few important things to know: 

  • Any appointment that has already been made through the Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) either with the Health District or with another provider will be honored. 
  • All appointments scheduled for events at the Richmond International Raceway will be honored, though some may be shifted to the coming weeks. Please look for an email update if your appointment needs to be rescheduled. 
  • Some new appointments for seniors will be added to ensure that our limited supply is distributed equitably among our most vulnerable populations. 
  • This shortage should not affect the ability of anyone who has already received a first dose to receive their second dose. Second dose appointments will be honored for anyone who has already made them, and those who receive their first dose during the shortage will be scheduled through VAMS to receive a second dose. 

Until our vaccine supply increases, community vaccination partners and primary care providers will not be receiving any new vaccine doses. The only exceptions to this temporary pause in distribution are organizations that have agreed to focus solely on vaccinating residents of group homes and homeless shelters or school staff and police from across our region. It is important to us that even with limited doses, we continue to vaccinate in an equitable way, focusing on vulnerable populations and those in congregate settings.   

Richmond area health districts are ready and eager to ramp up our vaccination efforts as soon as we have sufficient supply. In the meantime, we will continue to vaccinate as many people in Phases 1a and 1b as possible and help keep our communities safe through testing, contract tracing, quarantine and recovery support, and frequent communication as we learn more and our COVID response plans evolve. 

If you are eligible for vaccination in Phases 1a or 1b and have not yet done so, please fill out the interest form and you will be contacted in the coming weeks with information about registering for and scheduling a vaccination appointment. 

We are also continuing to recruit healthcare volunteers to join our Medical Reserve Corps and help administer the vaccine at health district vaccination events. If you are a healthcare professional who would like to learn more, you can read about the MRC and then register as an MRC volunteer through the Virginia Volunteer Health System

Thank you for your patience as we work to overcome this shortage. If you have questions, please call the Richmond COVID-19 Hotline at 804-205-3501 or email


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.


RCHD Website  |  HCHD Website  |   RCHD Facebook  |  HCHD Facebook  |  RCHD Instagram  |  RCHD Twitter  



Richmond Area Health Districts to Begin Phase 1b Vaccinating

Virginia Department of Health

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                    January 13, 2021

Media Contact:
Brookie Crawford, public information officer, Central Region,


Richmond Area Health Districts to Begin Phase 1b Vaccinating

(RICHMOND, Va.)  — The local health districts of the Richmond Metropolitan Area (Chesterfield, Chickahominy, Henrico, and Richmond) will begin expanding their COVID-19 vaccination campaigns to include some Phase 1b frontline essential workers on Monday, January 18. Specifically, workers in the first three categories of Phase 1b, will now be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccines will be administered through a combination of regional mass vaccination events, as well as partnerships with various providers. Vaccination of Phase 1a populations will continue as the region opens up to Phase 1b.

“We know that the burden of this disease and the underlying social vulnerabilities that put these essential workers at risk do not end at the boundaries of our city and counties,” said Dr. Melissa Viray, Acting Director for Richmond and Henrico Health Districts. “It makes the most sense to coordinate our vaccination efforts and make sure all of our communities have access to the best tool we have to end the pandemic.”

The first three categories of Phase 1b frontline essential workers include:

1)    Police, Fire, and Hazmat

2)    Corrections and homeless shelter workers

3)    Childcare/PreK-12 Teachers/Staff

Individuals in these categories will start to have the opportunity to receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at one of three large-scale regional vaccination clinics beginning next week.

“Many school teachers and staff in our jurisdictions have courageously shown up for in-person instruction throughout this pandemic in order to serve their students’ needs and to provide the best education possible. This vaccine offers a shield of protection and a beacon of hope for this group of essential workers,” says Dr. Tom Franck, Director of Chickahominy Health District.

Next week’s COVID-19 vaccination events are taking place in addition to each local health districts’ ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts for qualified individuals. Metro area districts are exploring ways to move deeper into the 1b vaccine eligible group as additional resources become available to distribute vaccine more broadly.

“VDH is continuing to work with pharmacies, hospital systems, and medical practices to establish the infrastructure to more quickly and effectively distribute available resources and vaccinate others who are part of 1b and beyond,” says Dr. Alex Samuel, Director of Chesterfield Health District.

This step is only the beginning of the Phase 1b vaccination process; other populations that qualify for vaccines in Phase 1b will be offered COVID-19 vaccines in the coming weeks. Health districts will continue to prioritize future phases of vaccination using VDH guidelines, with an emphasis on those who cannot perform their work remotely and have increased exposure risk interfacing with the public or in close proximity to coworkers.

If you live or work in Richmond City or Henrico County and think you may qualify for a COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1a or Phase 1b, please visit to fill out a COVID-19 interest form. Call 804-205-3501 (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) if you need assistance.

For all other local health districts, please take this simple online eligibility tool or call the VDH COVID Hotline: 1-877-ASK-VDH3. Local health districts’ emails and hotlines are below, but due to the high volume of calls and messages, their ability to reply quickly will vary.


# # #


Media contacts:

Richmond and Henrico Health District: Cat Long, 804-363-0933,

Chickahominy Health District: Caitlin Hodge, 804-382-6592,

Chesterfield Health District: Ginell Ampey, 804-751-4358,


JAN 12,2021 UPDATE: The Richmond and Henrico Health Districts anticipate moving into Phase 1b of vaccine distribution in January 2021.




Cat Long



RICHMOND, VA – Richmond and Henrico Health Districts have created an online interest form that will help all eligible medical providers receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. The form can be filled out by an employer of healthcare workers on behalf of their staff or by individuals who meet the qualifications. The form can be accessed at

“We are following CDC and Virginia Department of Health’s guidance to vaccinate healthcare personnel as part of the first priority group because we rely on healthcare to diagnose and care for individuals with COVID-19 and because, by its very nature, their work may place them at greater risk of infection,” says Deputy Director of Richmond and Henrico Health Districts Dr. Melissa Viray. “This includes not just those working in hospitals, but also healthcare workers in the community. We need to make sure those individuals have access to vaccines, and this intake form can help make sure healthcare workers out in the community are able to receive the vaccine as soon as possible.”

Eligible healthcare providers who complete this form will be notified when there is a COVID-19 vaccine appointment available to them. They will be enrolled in the Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS), the online appointment scheduling tool created by the Centers for Disease Control. 

The Phase 1a group for COVID-19 vaccination includes: 

  • Residents of long-term care facilities
  • Healthcare personnel who engage directly in the care of or have contact with patients who with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19; 
  • Healthcare personnel who interact with patients who are known to be at a higher risk for COVID-19 infection or severe illness from COVID-19 infection (EMS, dialysis, residential care, etc.) 
  • Other healthcare employees whose work requires them to spend time in a clinical setting. 

To date, Richmond and Henrico Health Districts have distributed 3,070 doses (out of the 3,600 we have received) to individuals in Phase 1a. More than 14,300 Richmond and Henrico 1a eligible residents have been vaccinated through their employers, pharmacies enrolled in the CDC’s Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care, and Richmond and Henrico Health Districts. 

The Richmond and Henrico Health Districts anticipate moving into Phase 1b of vaccine distribution in February. Phase 1b includes any person over the age of 75 and other frontline essential workers beyond the healthcare field including grocery store employees, police officers, firefighters, public transit workers, and people who work in the education sector (both teachers and support staff). 

Anyone with questions about the COVID vaccine should contact the Richmond and Henrico COVID hotline at (804) 205-3501 Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm or email

Individuals outside of Richmond and Henrico should contact their local districts:

About Richmond and Henrico Health Districts: RCHD and HCHD are sister public health agencies serving Richmond’s 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.

RCHD Website  |  HCHD Website  |   RCHD Facebook  |  HCHD Facebook  |  RCHD Instagram  |  RCHD Twitter