Over 16 and want a COVID-19 vaccine? VDH says you’ll be eligible by end of April

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Every adult Virginian who wants a COVID-19 vaccine will be eligible to get one by the end of April, the state’s vaccination coordinator announced Friday.

While the statement may seem lofty to some who have been frustrated with the initial rollout, Dr. Danny Avula said the Commonwealth is in a position to meet President Joe Biden’s goal for every American to be eligible for a vaccine by May 1, based on an ever-increasing supply of vaccines coming in.

In the coming week, Virginia will receive 195,000 first doses of Pfizer and Moderna, 167,000 second doses of Pfizer and Moderna, and 6,900 doses of Johnson & Johnson.

Starting Monday, the first of three Community Vaccination Centers (CVC) will open up across the state in communities where the large amounts of the population are 65-years-old or older, Black or Latino, and where hospitalizations and deaths have been trending higher throughout the pandemic.

Around 1,000 shots a day are expected to be administered at Portsmouth’s CVC located at the Sportsplex off Portsmouth Boulevard.

In a city of roughly 95,000 people, VDH records that only 4,700 people fully vaccinated. The health department was already working at maximum capacity and needed volunteers to expand its efforts.

“Some of these are doing daily vaccination at a volume where we really could saturate the area in two to three weeks,” Avula said of the CVCs, mentioning that they could move to another location once vaccination rates improve.

Avula said the state is moving at a pace that has them looking to move to Phase 1c of vaccinations by mid-April.

Phase 1c is made of “remaining essential workers” such as those in the foodservice industry, power company employees, and journalists.

“That 1b timeline could be even faster for some parts of the state they are going to be looking next week or the week after at moving from 1b into 1c,” Avula said. “And then they are going to be going through their 1c group in about a week. The 1c category isn’t very big at all and we are already starting to plan closed pods with some of the 1c employer groups for that first week of April.”

Avula said every adult who wants a vaccine should have their first dose by the end of May.

Those currently eligible who are still frustrated they haven’t been scheduled for an appointment yet should again go make sure their information is correct on the state’s pre-registration system.

Avula said when the local systems merged with the new statewide system, a lot of incomplete records were found.

“What our health departments are doing is really working off that pre-registration database list by category, so they are really working through that list and getting that out through every channel we can think of to let eligible people know it time to get vaccinated,” Avula said.

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