RICHMOND, Va. -- Governor Ralph Northam held a news briefing Wednesday with his emergency support team to give an update on the Commonwealth's response to COVID-19 and vaccine roll-out.
Northam said the Virginia Department of Health's new call center, which launched Wednesday and is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., is staffed with 750 people to answer questions and pre-register callers using the new COVID vaccine statewide registration website.
"The call center will allow you to talk to someone who can answer questions, and they can help you get preregistered," Northam said. "They have the same access to online pre-registration forms. So if that works better for you, please call."
VDH launched its new centralized website Tuesday where Virginians can pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine. The statewide site replaces those set-up by local health districts several weeks earlier.
"This is a one stop shop for Virginians to pre-register for vaccination, so that when your turn comes, the health department can easily reach out to schedule you for your shot," Northam said about the new website.
The governor noted that if you have already signed up with your local health department, your data is being added into the new statewide system. In fact, Northam said 1.6 million records were migrated to the site over the weekend.
"If you know you pre-registered and you can't find your name on this new system, don't worry," Northam said. "While much of the data migration from local health departments is done, the rest of it is continuing this week. So it may take several days for your name to show up in the centralized system."
Northam also cautioned Virginians that vaccinations are free.
"Unfortunately, there are people out there who would take advantage of the high interest in vaccination," Northam said. "Please remember, and this is so important, the vaccine doesn't cost you anything. Don't respond to anyone asking for money to reserve your shot."
Northam announced Tuesday there is $524 million in new funding for the Virginia Rent Relief Program (RRP) to help those struggling during the ongoing pandemic.
The RRP is funded through the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program included in the recent federal stimulus package, and it will assist households and landlords with rent payments to avoid eviction.
Tenants interested in applying should check their eligibility by completing the self-assessment here.