Written By: Virginia Department of Health
In line with Governor Northam’s directive this week to increase flexibility and speed up vaccine distribution in Virginia, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced the select health districts that will begin Phase 1b vaccinations the week of January 11th.
The number of people in priority group 1a — healthcare personnel and people living in long-term care — differs across geographic regions. While many localities remain focused on 1a vaccinations, 11 health districts will begin gradually adding vaccination opportunities for the following groups: frontline essential workers, people age 75 and older, and people living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters or migrant labor camps. Overlap of vaccination of groups is needed to ensure people are vaccinated as quickly and efficiently as possible.
All areas of the Commonwealth are expected to move to Phase 1b before the end of January.
The following health districts will begin Phase 1b vaccinations the week of January 11th:
- Cumberland Plateau
- Lord Fairfax
- Mount Rogers
- New River
- Prince William
- Roanoke City/Alleghany
Moving forward, local health districts will announce as they move into Phase 1b. This information will also be available on the VDH COVID-19 Vaccine webpage.
“This is an important step that will provide increased flexibility to health districts across the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Danny Avula, MD, MPH newly appointed COVID Vaccine Coordinator. “The Governor has made it very clear that the state should not be holding anyone back — if health districts are ready and able to begin Phase 1b vaccinations, they must be able to do so.”
“We are excited to begin vaccinating more people as we continue to work to put this pandemic behind us,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA. “The number of calls to our VDH hotline and to our local health departments asking about vaccines is evidence that people want this protection. Our goal is to get shots into arms as quickly as possible. Vaccines are our best hope to get back to normal.”
It will take several weeks to months to vaccinate Virginians who fall into Phase 1b. The ability to schedule appointments will depend on the supply of vaccine available. Vaccine supply in the United States is still very limited. Currently the federal government is allocating about 110,000 doses of vaccine to Virginia a week. The amount of vaccine available in the United States will depend on the capabilities of the manufacturers to produce the vaccine safely and is expected to increase later gradually over the next months.
To determine your local health department and to check your health district’s website for additional information, visit: www.vdh.virginia.gov/local-health-districts/.