STAUNTON — The state’s Central Shenandoah Health District, which includes Bath County, has moved into Phase 1b of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
The state gave the health district permission to move into Phase 1b on Monday.
Phase 1b is the second group eligible to receive the vaccine. It includes police, fire and hazmat response personnel, persons living and working in correctional facilities, homeless shelters and migrant labor camps, childcare/K-12 teachers and staff, food and agriculture workers, manufacturers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, mail carriers and anyone age 65 or over.
When receiving a vaccine, individuals will be required to bring a personal form of identification such as a driver’s license. They may also be asked to show proof of qualification, such as a work ID to verify eligibility.
The health district is continuing to work with local health care partners to provide vaccines to persons in Phase 1a.
“We anticipate completing the majority of Phase 1a health care workers by the end of the month. Efforts continue with staff and residents of skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities through a federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens,” said Dr. Laura Kornegay, director of the Central Shenandoah Health District.
Phase 1b essential worker groups include K-12 school and daycare staff, and they will begin to receive vaccines the week of Jan 25.
“We are also working with our healthcare partners such as hospital systems, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and 10 local pharmacies throughout the district to start vaccinating persons aged 65 and up,” Kornegay said.
Given the limited supply of vaccines currently available, health department-sponsored points of distribution and vaccine distribution by community partners will be by appointment only at this time,” she said.
Vaccination planning teams are reaching out to employers in Phase 1b.
Any persons who are age 65 or older can email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a secure survey to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.
Once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, the health department will contact individuals who signed up with instructions on how to register and make an appointment.
Anyone interested in receiving updates about the district vaccine distribution efforts can also email email@example.com.
Up-to-date information can also be found at the district COVID-19 vaccine website: www.vdh.virginia.gov/central-shenandoah/covid-19-vaccine-information.
“We are pleased to provide a safe and effective vaccine to individuals in Phase 1b,” said Kornegay.
“We will continue our Phase 1b vaccination efforts throughout the month of February, and we’ll update the public on our progress with reaching this group and advancing into the next phase. While the vaccine provides hope on the horizon, it will still be months before the vaccine is widely available publicly. It’s important to remember we are still very much in the trenches of this pandemic and we must continue to adhere to COVID-19 prevention practices, including mask wearing, washing hands, and socially distancing,” she said.
As the availability of the vaccine increases, Virginia will move to the other phases. Phase 1c will include other essential workers.
The complete definitions of all phases, data, and other information are on VDH’s Vaccine Response website at www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/. Citizens can take a brief quiz to find out which vaccination phase they fall under.
Virginians who do not fall into priority phases will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine when it is more widely available. Once the vaccine is rolled out to the general public, distribution will be similar to the flu vaccine.
People will be able to get the vaccine from a local pharmacy, primary care physician, Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC)/free clinic, local health department or other clinic that is participating as a COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider.
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The Virginian Review has been serving Covington, Clifton Forge, Alleghany County and Bath County since 1914.