This update combines information from the 3/2 BOCS meeting, the 3/3 update from Dr. Avula, and the 3/4 town hall with Dr. Ansher and Dr. Sandoval.
If you are pre-registered for vaccination through the state system, you should have received an invitation to update your registration. New data fields include address, birthdate, essential worker status and underlying conditions. Check and update your record online at vaccinate.virginia.gov or by calling 877-829-4682. You can also use these methods to pre-register if you have not done so already. Appointments are currently only available to those in groups 1A and 1B, and will be scheduled over the course of the next 2 months.
Should your information change, you may update your record using these methods at any time.
Virginia continues to be in Phase 1B, which will likely continue through April due to limited supply. In Prince William, 1B includes the following essential worker groups (in order of priority):
- Police, Fire, and Hazmat
- Corrections and homeless shelter workers (and their resident populations)
- Childcare/PreK-12 Teachers/Staff
- Food and Agriculture (including veterinarians) [as of 3/10/2021]
- Manufacturing [as of 3/10/2021]
- Grocery store workers [as of 3/10/2021]
Prince William Health District continues to follow state guidance to reserve approximately 50% of doses received for administration to individuals 65 and over, with another 50% for a combination of 1B essential workers and those 16-64 with underlying conditions (as well as any remaining individuals in phase 1A).
Many people have contacted the Supervisor’s office concerned about their position on the waitlist. It’s important to remember that the waitlist is fluid, and is based on a combination of priority factors and order of registration. For this reason, there is no practical way to give advance notification of an individual’s “place in line.” Your registration number is not correlated to when you will receive an appointment.
For example, if an individual in 1A registers for the waitlist today, they will be scheduled ahead of individuals who pre-registered weeks ago as Phase 1B. Within 1B, two people registering on the same day may be prioritized differently based on underlying health conditions or essential worker statuses. Additionally, VDH has added new priority groups since the vaccine rollout at the end of December. There continues to be more eligible individuals than supply. It will take until the end of April to vaccinate everyone who is currently eligible.
If you have an underlying condition, you can contact your primary care provider, who may choose to contact the Health District to recommend that you are given further prioritization in the scheduling process.
The Health District continues to work to add location capacity in preparation of increased supply.
Through the Federal Partner Retail Pharmacy Program, Wal-mart administered 2,400 vaccine doses at a new large-scale capacity site in Eastern Prince William with the capacity for 100+ vaccination stations. In three weeks, Wal-mart will return to the former Gander Mountain facility on Worth Avenue in the Occoquan District to administer second doses.
The Health District later used the site to administer 1,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and will continue vaccinations with Moderna doses as supply allows. As with other sites, vaccinations are available by appointment only.
The Health District has recommended six Giant and Safeway locations for vaccination sites when these retailers join the federal program. However, both companies have the final say in which stores will offer the vaccine.
Unlike CVS, new pharmacy partners have for the most part agreed to work from the existing VDH waitlist.
Winter weather and cold storage needs for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have prevented drive-thru vaccinations in the county. With spring around the corner and the introduction of the easier-to-store Johnson & Johnson vaccine, this may change soon.
Don’t miss your turn! Add the domain @vdh.virginia.gov to your email address book (or check spam folders daily) and 877-829-4682 to phone contacts. When it is your turn to schedule an appointment, you will be contacted. This may take several weeks from the time of registration, as demand still outpaces supply. At their peak, groups 1A and 1B were made up of over 4.5M Virginians with priority access to vaccines.
If you have received a first dose, and do not receive a call from the PWHD within 3 days of your scheduled second vaccination due date, call 703.872.7759.
After you receive your shot, you will receive information on an app to help track any side effects you may experience. The app will send notifications daily at first, decreasing to weekly over time.
It may still be possible to asymptomatically spread COVID even after being vaccinated, so physical distancing, masking, and handwashing are still important. It will take a national vaccination rate of 70-75% to achieve herd immunity.
CDC recently announced that people who are fully vaccinated may gather with small groups of other vaccinated people. However, these individuals should still be masked in public or when interacting with those who have not yet been vaccinated.
Dr. Avula explained the challenge in setting priority levels between those individuals ages 16-64 with underlying conditions:
“There’s a big range of risk in that 16 to 64 with underlying conditions. You’ve got a 30-year old who has asthma, who is really at much lower risk than many people who’d be in that [underlying conditions] category. And then you’ve got a 63-year old with severe diabetes on dialysis, who’s going to be at much higher risk.
Some of that high-risk population, we are managing centrally. So, for example, this week, part of the State set-aside for high risk populations, is going to support the dialysis population throughout the state. I think there will be other categories like that, our immunosuppressed population, folks who are undergoing active cancer treatment.”
If you have an underlying condition you can contact your primary care provider for guidance. If your provider feels that you are at high risk for serious illness or death, they may help you to advocate for prioritization with the Health District.
Even if you have tested positive for COVID in the past, you should still get vaccinated. If you are currently infected, VDH requests that you wait 10-14 days after symptoms have cleared before getting the vaccine.
The vaccines are federally funded which means everybody will have access to them at no cost regardless of insurance status. You may be asked for your insurance information as some providers can bill your insurance for an administration fee. You as a patient will not be billed. VDH has made it very clear to all vaccine providers that insurance status will not be a barrier to access.
If you believe you have received a scam call or email, please contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section at 1-800-552-9963.