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Virginia Health District to Open COVID-19 Vaccinations to More People, Essential Workers

| January 11, 2021 | 0 Comments | News

Dr. Reuben Varghese, Arlington County Public Health Director explains why he chose to get the COVID-19 vaccine in a video shared by the Virginia Department of Health.

UPDATE: Jan. 13 at 2:41 from Prince William County Government Office of Communications: 

“In the Prince William Health District, to register for the vaccination, the form requires one email address per registrant. This means that if you previously registered a spouse with one email address, you will need to register yourself with another email address.”

From the Virginia Department of Health “Vaccine Registration Info.” 

This past Wednesday, Jan. 6, Virginia’s governor released the priority groups for Phase 1b and Phase 1c.

Even though the health district is transitioning into Phase 1b, it will continue vaccinating those in the first phase (Phase 1a). In addition, starting on January 25 the health district will begin giving the required second dose to those vaccine recipients who are due for their second dose of Moderna vaccine.

Priority Groups

Priority groups listed in Phase 1b and Phase 1c that are part of an employer (school staff, grocery store workers, postal workers, etc.) will not be able to sign up for an appointment until the health district or local jurisdiction has coordinated with their employer. The employer will be contacted to provide a list of employees’ names and email addresses. When they are in the correct priority group, this list will be uploaded into an electronic scheduling system and the employee will be provided information on how to schedule an appointment.

Phase 1b

Definition of Frontline Essential Workers Workers who are in sectors essential to the functioning of society, are at substantially higher risk of exposure to SARSCoV-2, and cannot work remotely. Because there is not sufficient supply at this time to vaccinate everyone in Phase 1b at the same time, local health districts will reach out to engage the Frontline Essential Worker groups in vaccination planning in the order listed below.

Frontline Essential Workers include:

 Police, Fire, and Hazmat

 Corrections and homeless shelter workers ]

 Childcare/K-12 Teachers/Staff

 Food and Agriculture (including Veterinarians)

 Manufacturing

 Grocery store workers

 Public transit workers

 Mail carriers (USPS and private)

 Officials needed to maintain continuity of government

Overlap of vaccination of groups is expected to ensure people in Phase 1b are vaccinated as quickly and efficiently as possible. Opportunities to vaccinate Frontline Essential Workers should not be missed.

Frontline essential workers may be most likely to receive the vaccine through employer-based vaccination clinics. Others will get it through their local health department or through arrangements with pharmacies and healthcare providers.

Information will be coming out from local health departments, employers, and healthcare providers about how and when you can receive your COVID-19 vaccine. The ability to schedule appointments will depend on the supply of vaccine available.

1b 75-years-and older

Those that are aged 75 and older are invited to fill out a brief survey. This survey will assist the health district in contacting those who fall within this group. The link to the survey is now accessible here. Once the PWHD has a list of individuals 75 years old and older, it will upload it into our electronic scheduling system that will instruct them how to schedule an appointment.

At this time, an email is required to schedule an appointment. The health district is actively working with local emergency management partners to ensure that those who do not have access to email can schedule appointments too. It is important to schedule an appointment, otherwise, only if there are doses available at the end of the clinic will people who walk in without an appointment will be vaccinated.

The Department of Corrections, local and regional jails, local and regional jails, and their occupational health programs will vaccinate staff and persons living in correctional facilities, with local health department assistance as needed. Those living in homeless shelters and migrant labor camps will receive the vaccine through their local health department or through arrangements with healthcare systems and pharmacies.

For an in-depth look at Virginia’s Phase 1b click here.

Phase 1c

In Phase 1b, frontline essential workers were included. Vaccination will be allocated to additional essential workers in Phase 1c. These workers are in sectors essential to the functioning of society and/or are at higher risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

Other Essential Workers include, in order of priority:

 Energy

 Waste removal workers (includes waste and recycling removal, waste and wastewater workers)

 Housing Construction

 Food Service

 Transportation and Logistics

 Institutions of Higher Education Faculty/Staff

 Finance

 Information Technology & Communication

 Media

 Legal Services

 Public Safety (Engineers)

 Other Public Health Workers Occupational definitions and further clarifications can be found within guideline

For an in-depth look at Virginia’s Phase 1c click here.

The health district must complete the employment groups in the order that they are listed in Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign. For example, the health district cannot vaccinate corrections and homeless shelter staff before it vaccinates law enforcement since law enforcement is prioritized to be vaccinated first in 1b.

Currently, there are two COVID-19 vaccines available, Moderna and Pfizer, both require two doses to be fully effective. At this time, the health district is only offering the Moderna vaccine. It is important to note that both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine must come from the same manufacturer. For example, if someone received the Pfizer vaccine for the first dose, they absolutely need to have the Pfizer vaccine for the second dose.

Keep in mind that while the health district is moving into Phase 1b, the vaccination effort is heavily reliant on the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) receiving enough vaccine from the federal government. Still of the utmost importance is prioritizing the groups and that is based on the Virginia Unified Command recommendations supported by the governor.

The Prince William Health District (PWHD) is deeply grateful to George Mason University (GMU) for putting the community first and providing its facilities to be used as a place for residents of the Greater Prince William Area to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. On Tuesday, January 19, the PWHD will begin administering COVID-19 vaccinations at GMU.

This much larger space will give the health district the ability to vaccinate greater numbers of people.  In addition, it will allow for safety measures such as the required social distancing of six-feet and it offers adequate space for the 15-minutes or more of observation time that is needed for people who just have been vaccinated.

This massive undertaking to vaccinate the greater public is requiring an all-hands-on-deck community effort. That is why it is wonderful to know that in this time of crisis, GMU has stepped up to help the community.

The move to this larger space is especially critical, as the PWHD transitions into Phase 1b of the Virginia vaccination program.  The need for a larger site became more urgent after learning of the massive number of people who are in this second phase (Phase 1b) of the program.

Also, the health district is truly grateful to Prince William County, Manassas City, and Manassas Park for their continuous partnership during this COVID-19 crisis. The Office of Emergency Management in each locality continues to work with the health district in finding and securing larger spaces for our community partners in order to expand vaccination sites throughout our community.  Larger spaces for health district partners will mean more opportunities for the community to receive their COVID-19 vaccine.

Message from Inova Health System

The Virginia Department of Health announced that additional groups in select health districts are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination beginning on Jan. 11, 2021. Inova Health System is moving quickly to expand our operations so we can begin safely welcoming new populations to our vaccination clinics.

There are 11 health districts included in this expansion including those in Northern Virginia – Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William.

Updates specific to eligibility, clinic locations, scheduling, and other logistics will be communicated here. It is recommended that you bookmark this page and check back frequently to receive the latest information on scheduling your vaccine.

To date, Inova has given more than 23,000 doses of the vaccine to team members and eligible healthcare workers in the region. The health and safety of our patients, team members, and community remain one of our highest priorities and Inova is eager to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to as many individuals as possible. Inova remains committed to working in collaboration with our various community partners to ensure as many vaccinations as possible happen each day to protect the health and safety of the communities we serve.

© 2021, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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