RICHMOND, Va. -- Health departments across Virginia are releasing more details about how the COVID-19 vaccine will be administered as more Virginians become eligible for the shots next week.
In fact, much of Central Virginia is set to move to Phase 1B of the vaccination process on Monday.
The Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield, and Chickahominy districts will open up to the first three groups of essential workers, correctional facility and homeless shelter residents, and people over the age of 65.
They are partnering for three mass vaccination events at the Richmond Raceway for teachers and first responders, which are by appointment only.
The Richmond and Henrico Health Districts (RHHD) released additional details Friday on how the other groups will be reached.
For corrections and homeless shelter workers and residents, said it is "starting a mobile vaccination clinic that will travel to correctional facilities to vaccinate staff and residents who desire to get their first dose. We have also coordinated with our partners at Daily Planet Health Services to administer vaccines to homeless shelters staff and residents. These programs are expected to launch by the end of January, if not sooner."
RHHD said it would open its on-going vaccination events to people in the 65-plus group in the coming weeks. They add their "Phase 1b interest form is now accessible to those who are aged 65+. RHHD is also coordinating additional venues for adults aged 65+ to get vaccinated through primary care providers and pharmacies. Large primary care providers in our area, including the safety net providers, are receiving shipments of COVID-19 vaccines to vaccinate their existing 65+ year old patient populations. These providers will reach out to their patients directly. This program will expand and more providers will become eligible to administer vaccines to their qualified patients. Additionally, RHHD has developed partnerships with small and large pharmacy chains to offer storefront vaccinations to adults aged 65+. We will share more details on pharmacy partnerships next week. will be through vaccination events, primary care providers and pharmacies, officials said they are on track to reach the rest of the 1B by the end of the month."
RHHD said they would be opening up Phase 1B to the remainder of those in the group, including those under 65 with comorbidities, by the end of the month.
Northam: Virginia should in Phase 1B by end of January
Gov. Ralph Northam said Thursday that all of Virginia should be in Phase 1B by month's end as he announced changes to the rollout by moving up certain groups into that phase.
Individuals 65-years-old and up were moved from Phase 1C to 1B, following new federal guidance. Additionally, people under 65-years-old with a comorbid condition were also moved up the list.
"About half of Virginia is now eligible to receive the vaccine," Northam previously said. "That's a major logistical effort."
The change came after a federal announcement Tuesday where officials announced the would also release all reserves of the vaccine held for second doses.
That was welcomed news by Northam as he seeks to vaccinate 50,000 Virginians a day.
The Governor's spokesperson released a statement about the Washington Post report and said they were explicitly told they would be provided additional doses and they changed their vaccination plan based on that to expand eligibility and increase access.
Once again, the Trump administration cannot seem to provide basic facts and truths," said Alena Yarmosky. "Now, the news media is reporting that the exact opposite may be true. We’re frankly trying to gather as much information as possible right now — like every American, we need to understand what is going on, so we can plan accordingly.
"While astonishing, this is hardly surprising. What we're seeing is fully in line with the dysfunction that has characterized the Trump administration's entire response to COVID-19. President-elect Biden cannot be sworn in fast enough."
Biden: We'll 'manage the hell' out of feds' COVID response
President-elect Joe Biden is pledging to boost supplies of coronavirus vaccine and set up new vaccination sites to meet his goal of 100 million shots in 100 days.
"This is the time to set big goals and to pursue them with courage and conviction because the health of the nation is at stake," Biden said during a news briefing Friday. "We will use the Defense Production Act to work with private industry to accelerate the making of materials needed to supply and administer the vaccine."
The goal is part of a broader COVID strategy that also seeks to straighten out snags in testing and ensure minority communities are not left behind.
He says the lasting impact of his plan will come from uniting Americans in a new effort grounded in science and fueled by billions in federal money for vaccination, testing, and outbreak sleuths.
Biden spoke a day after unveiling a $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” to confront the virus and provide temporary supports for a shaky economy.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid non-essential travel.