RICHMOND, Va. -- On Monday, the next phase of the vaccination rollout began, putting front line essential workers, teachers, people 65 and older, those living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and migrant labor camps next in line to receive the COVID 19 vaccine.
Also included in Phase 1b are people with underlying medical conditions, between the age of 16-64.
While local health departments are eager to administer the vaccine as quickly as possible, they say low vaccine supply remains a big obstacle.
"We're not sure how many vaccines will be allocated each week," Amy Popovich, Nurse Manager with Richmond/Henrico Health Districts, said. "Just to give you an example, Virginia requested 300,000 doses as a state, and we were allocated 106,000 doses."
But in the race to get the vaccine administered to roughly half of Virginia's population, local health districts are working with pharmacies, health systems, and primary care practices to vaccinate as many people as possible.
Later this week, the Richmond Raceway will play host to three mass COVID-19 vaccination events for first responders and teachers in Richmond, Henrico, and Chickahominy Health Districts.
Other frontline essential workers will likely get the vaccine through employer-based vaccination clinics. Others will go through health departments or through arrangements with pharmacies and healthcare providers.
A partnership with Daily Planet Health Services will get vaccines to homeless shelters and mobile teams will ensure correctional facilities receive vaccines.
For Virginians 65 and older, most vaccines will be administered through primary care physicians.
"Primary care offices that have the vaccine will be reaching out to their own patients, even if someone doesn't have a primary care physician, we encourage them to use our online interest form and we'll be reaching out to them in the coming weeks," Popovich said.
Mobile units will also be available for seniors living in independent living facilities who are unable to leave their homes.
While health officials said it could take weeks to vaccinate all Virginians in Phase 1b, they added community partnerships would allow them to reach as many people as possible.
"As the Richmond City and Henrico Health Districts, we are still continuing weekly dispensing events, including with our regional partners in Goochland, New Kent, Charles City, and Hanover to ensure there are multiple access points," Popovich said.
The Virginia Department of Health and local health districts are asking you to fill out profile information online so health departments can contact you when it's your turn to receive the vaccine.