Additional frontline essential workers and individuals aged 16-64 with certain medical conditions or disabilities that increase risk of severe COVID-19 illness are now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines, dependent on vaccine supply and appointment availability. Scheduling of appointments will begin as soon as today (March 8th).
“Our communities have been eagerly anticipating this COVID-19 vaccine,” says Amy Popovich, nurse manager at Richmond and Henrico Health Districts. “This is momentous for us; we’re one step closer to having all of our communities vaccinated.”
After receiving fewer COVID-19 vaccine supplies than expected from the federal government earlier this year, Richmond area health districts entered into a restricted Phase 1b. Until today, Phase 1b vaccines were only offered to the first three categories of frontline essential workers (police/fire/hazmat, homeless shelter/correctional facility workers, and childcare/K-12 school staff) and adults aged 65 and older. Richmond and Henrico Health Districts, Chesterfield Health District, and Chickahominy Health District have collectively decided to expand Phase 1b after receiving an increased supply of COVID-19 vaccines.
“In order to save as many lives as possible and stop the spread of COVID-19, we need to get vaccines into people’s arms as quickly and safely as possible” explains Dr. Tom Franck, Chickahominy Health District Director. “The increasing supply of vaccine and expansion of Phase 1b in our region is so encouraging because it means achieving these goals that much more quickly.”
“Our frontline essential workers have served us all through difficult circumstances over the course of the past year in this pandemic,” says Dr. Alexander Samuel, director of Chesterfield Health District. “We hope the vaccine brings them a sense of security and relief.”
Current Phase 1b eligibility and distribution varies by localities:
Visit the Virginia Department of Health to learn more about Virginia’s Phase 1a and Phase 1b eligibility. Anyone in Virginia interested in a COVID-19 vaccine should fill out the pre-registration form at vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682).