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Richmond Metropolitan area to begin vaccinating frontline workers in Phase 1b

Posted at 9:56 AM, Jan 13, 2021

RICHMOND, Va. — The Richmond Metropolitan region was set to move into Phase 1b of their vaccination process Monday, according to health leaders — meaning thousands of frontline workers would be eligible for the COVID vaccine.

The Virginia Department of Health said starting Monday, certain frontline workers in much of Central Virginia, including the Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield, and Chickahominy Health Districts would become eligible to receive the COVID vaccine.

VDH said the first priorities, and first in line, to get the vaccine in phase 1b would include police, fire, hazmat, corrections, and homeless shelter workers, as well as teachers and childcare workers.

People who fell under these categories could receive their first dose of the COVID vaccine at one of 3 large scale regional vaccination clinics beginning next week, according to VDH.

In a Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, Richmond and Henrico Health Director Dr. Danny Avula, said also next week, the Richmond and Henrico Health District would be holding 4 of their own large scale vaccination events.

People in Richmond or Henrico who think they qualify for a vaccine can fill out a COVID interest form.

For all other local health districts, you can use the eligibility tool on the VDH's website or call the VDH COVID Hotline: 1-877-ASK-VDH3.

"The local health districts, when they get to a point where they have clinics for that subset of the population, will assign those individuals to clinics and send them a text or email," said Dr. Avula.

However Avula did say, as far as registration goes, health leaders were still working through the kinks.

“We as a state were not anticipating going to 1b this quickly. And so the building out the process for people to have a clear path for registration — for there to be a clear feedback loop that tells them, ‘okay, you’ll be registered into this clinic now’ — that’s a big shortfall,” Avula said. “We thought we had more lead time to build all that. That is being feverishly worked on so that there is a clear pathway for people, especially in 1b, to know where to get vaccinated.”

Also in phase 1B, included those who are 75 years and older and grocery store workers among others.

The VDH said those populations would be offered COVID vaccines in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, they planned to hold a press conference Wednesday at 1 p.m. with more information on the roll out.