Virginia will begin to receive an additional 26,000 doses of COVID-19 per week through the new Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will ship these doses directly to 36 CVS Pharmacy locations throughout the Commonwealth for distribution to people over age 65. The Virginia Department of Health was not involved in the early planning. As a result, CVS will have its own booking system that does not sync with existing waitlists. Even with a less-than-ideal rollout, the program offers increased capacity to protect more people, faster. We have put together an FAQ to help you navigate what can be a confusing process.
If I was already on the PWHD waitlist, am I now in the CVS system?
No. CVS could not accommodate the state’s request to work from existing health department waitlists. As a result, if you wish to be vaccinated through CVS, you will need to book with them directly, even if you are on the PWHD waitlist.
If I’m 65+, should I remove myself from the PWHD waitlist?
Not until you have an appointment scheduled with CVS. Due to the lack of integration between platforms, staying on the waitlist while also seeking openings at CVS is the best strategy. CVS will open appointments on a rolling basis as new supply comes and do not maintain a waitlist. This “first come” approach may make it difficult to obtain an appointment through CVS until supply increases.
PWHD will continue to schedule its own appointments from its existing waitlist; this is separate from the CVS process. The Health District may still be the faster route to vaccination for some people. No action is required to stay on the PWHD list if you have registered. Please note, it may take several weeks to be contacted by PWHD regarding an appointment. If you are vaccinated by CVS they will notify VDH and you will be removed from the waitlist. Additionally, the state hopes to have future pharmacy partners sync with existing waitlists.
Which CVS locations offer the vaccine?
Go to the CVS registration page to see all available appointments within a 25-mile radius. You may go to whichever is most convenient, even if it is not in Prince William County. Some days none will be available; check back as dates are added when supply comes in.
It is also anticipated that additional locations will be added as supply ramps up. Additionally, more pharmacies will enter the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program soon. VDH is reaching out to these companies now in hopes of a more integrated process for future rollouts.
Why aren’t there more CVS vaccination sites in Prince William?
CVS did not consult with VDH in selecting sites, and originally only planned for 28 locations with none in Northern Virginia (read about roll-out issues). Thanks to VDH intervention, 8 additional sites were added for a total of 36, including one in Gainesville. VDH will continue talks with CVS and upcoming pharmacy partners to seek more equitable site distribution as additional locations come online. You may schedule with any CVS within a 25 mile radius, even if it is not located in the County.
What if I’m under age 65, but was able to get an appointment with CVS?
Please cancel. Proof of age is required at CVS and your appointment will not be honored. If you are in group 1A or 1B, you can register for the waitlist. It will take several months to work through these groups, which represent approximately 4 million Virginians.