Richmond-area healthcare workers get COVID vaccine into 50,000 arms

Posted at 4:51 PM, Jan 20, 2021

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond health leaders provided an update Wednesday on COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts as the state moved into Phase 1B.

Dr. Melissa Viray, with the Richmond and Henrico Health Department, said nearly 50,000 people around the region have received at least one dose of vaccine since the campaign began last month.

And while much focus has been on the percentage of shots administered versus distributed, Viray said the Richmond-area is around 72 percent.

The statewide average is 38 percent.

But she echoed what state leaders have said about delays and issues in reporting to VDH's vaccine dashboard.

"We and VDH at the state level are looking at how to fix this so that we have more timely up-to-date data," she said.

In terms of continuing to ramp up the number of vaccines per day, Viray said Tuesday's mass clinic at the Richmond Raceway was the first time they were able to vaccinate over 1,000 people in a single day.

"As long as vaccine supplies allow, we will continue to host events of that size going forward," she said.

Virginians eligible for vaccination under Phase 1B include teachers, first responders, and people 65 years old and older.

Vaccines for teachers and first responders should be organized by employers, while seniors should hear from their healthcare provider.

Those interested in getting a vaccine should fill out an interest form on the VDH website.

"We're working through it as soon as we can," Viray said. "As soon as we're able to, we will be reaching out."

Viray said they hoped to open up registration to the rest of Phase 1B by the end of the month, but admitted vaccine supply issues could push back that date.

"We are looking at not having enough vaccine at the national level and this is affecting us here at the state and here in Richmond," Viray said.

Also Wednesday, the Chickahominy Health District -- which includes Hanover, Goochland, New Kent, and Charles City counties -- call center was up and running to answer questions about the virus and vaccine rollout.

That phone number is 804-365-3240.