Local health districts to begin distributing vaccines for people in Phase 1B
(WDBJ) - More people in our hometowns will soon be allowed to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Starting Monday, a handful of health districts will begin Phase 1B vaccinations. That group includes essential workers like teachers, grocery store workers and others, and folks 75 years and older.
Health districts like the New River and Roanoke & Alleghany Health Districts will be moving to phase 1B in just a few days. If you want to get vaccinated, you need to make sure to pre-register and make an appointment ahead of time.
“This really is the potential turning point in this just terrible pandemic ... It’s so exciting to know that we finally have a tool that can make a difference,” said Cynthia Morrow, health director for the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts.
Monday, COVID-19 vaccines will be given out to many in the NRV and Roanoke and Alleghany Health Districts.
“There are literally hundreds of thousands of people in the Phase 1B category in Virginia. It is going to take us time to go through Phase 1B, it is going to take us weeks if not even a month, and so we really need people to understand we need patience, we need flexibility,” Morrow said.
For essential workers included in Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout plan, the next question is how to get the vaccine. Health officials say you can get the vaccine through your workplace clinic or residential clinic. But for that to happen, you need to pre-register and make an appointment through your clinics.
If you identify as Phase 1B and work at a smaller or independent business, are 75 or older, or are not affiliated with a workplace or residential clinic, you can pre-register through the health district websites.
“It is critical that people pre-register, again, all clinics are closed clinics, meaning they are not available to walk-ins,” Morrow said.
Once you pre-register, the Virginia Department of Health will contact you to make an appointment at a local health department, pharmacy or healthcare provider.
Within Phase 1B there are priorities, and law enforcement and first responders are at the top of the list. Health Officials say that pre-registration does not guarantee you’ll get an appointment, “Because it is our responsibility to try and make sure we are distributing the vaccine in accordance to the prioritization strategies,” Morrow said.
Eleven other Virginia health districts, including the Mount Rogers Health District, will also start their Phase 1B rollout plan next week.
Health Officials say if you’re in Phase 1C or the general public, you should not pre-register. Phase 1C will include other essential workers and people ages 65 to 74 years. It also includes those with a a high-risk medical condition or disability.
You can check the VDH website for more information on what vaccine phase you are included in and when you can get the vaccine.
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