RICHMOND, Va. -- Some Virginia health districts will transition from Phase 1b to Phase 1c vaccinations this week, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced Tuesday. All parts of Virginia should be able to open to Phase 1c "within weeks," according to the state.
"Finally, the light at the end of this long journey seems to be coming into view,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Norm Oliver said. “Vaccine is our best hope of ending the pandemic.”
The decision to move from 1b to 1c is made by local and state health leaders.
"Before moving to 1c, local health departments must have made strong efforts to reach all those eligible in 1a and 1b populations, particularly communities that have been disproportionately impacted, such as communities of color," a VDH spokesperson wrote in an email about the change. "Local health departments also must consider whether demand for vaccine has decreased among 1a and 1b populations."
Phase 1c includes essential workers in the following fields:
- Water, wastewater, and waste removal workers (includes recycling removal workers)
- Housing and Construction
- Food Service
- Transportation and Logistics
- Institutions of Higher Education Faculty/Staff
- Information Technology & Communication
- Legal Services
- Public Safety (engineers)
- Other Public Health Workers
“It is important that everyone who falls in one of the priority groups outlined in phases 1a-1c, including Virginians who are 65 and older, essential workers, and those 16-64 with underlying health conditions, get signed up on the state’s pre-registration list as soon as possible,” Dr. Danny Avula, Virginia’s COVID Vaccine Coordinator, said. “In some communities, those on that pre-registration list will be contacted in days, not weeks, to schedule an appointment for your vaccine.”
Nearly 1.8 million people who live in Virginia have been vaccinated with at least one dose coronavirus vaccine, according to the Virginia Department of Health. That's about 21% of the state's population.
More than 1 million people in the state have been fully vaccinated. About 8.5 million people live in Virginia.
Those who have pre-registered should check the list at vaccinate.virginia.gov or by calling the call center to ensure their information is accurate. Incomplete or inaccurate information could result in you not being contacted for an appointment. If you are pre-registered, make sure you are checking your email and answering your phone because it could be an invitation to schedule your appointment. For more information about Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, visit: www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/.