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More people -- including Richmond restaurant and grocery workers - can now get a COVID vaccine

Posted at 7:45 AM, Mar 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-08 12:36:50-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Some Richmond metro area health districts will open up COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to more groups in Phase 1b of the Virginia Department of Health's plan starting Monday.

Until today, health officials said limited vaccine supplies had only allowed them to vaccinate the first three categories of frontline essential workers, including police, fire and hazmat workers, homeless shelter and correctional facility workers, and childcare and school workers.

Now, anyone that is eligible under Phase 1b in the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts and Chickahominy Health District -- which serves the counties of Charles City, Goochland, Hanover, and New Kent -- can sign up for a vaccine.

Richmond and Henrico health officials also said they will open up vaccination eligibility to restaurant workers in their district -- a group that is not specifically listed under the Phase 1b plan.

Chesterfield Health District -- serving the counties of Chesterfield, Powhatan, and the City of Colonial Heights -- will expand vaccination eligibility to essential workers listed in categories one through six under Phase 1b, as well as adults aged 65 or older.

All health districts will continue vaccinating those citizens eligible under Phase 1a.

Cat Long, with the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts, said, “We're going to hit the ground running, making calls and sending emails today to start to get people registered."

Long added, “We just felt like we had to include food service workers, because so much of Richmond Henrico have limited access to grocery stores. We also know that food service workers tend to not have paid leave, tend to be uninsured or under-insured may not be financially stable enough to take off work and often come from under-served communities."

Anyone in Virginia interested in a COVID-19 vaccine should fill out the pre-registration form at vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA.