The Blue Ridge Health District has changed the process to register for a COVID-19 vaccine in the area.
The district — which encompasses the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson counties — has said that effective immediately anyone who wishes to request an appointment for a vaccine must first contact their local health department.
This is in order to ensure proper dose levels in response to changes in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the health district said.
“On April 19, the CDC updated its COVID-19 vaccine recommendations to allow adults 65 and older and immunocompromised people to get an additional updated (bivalent) vaccine dose. The CDC no longer recommends the use of the monovalent (original) COVID-19 mRNA vaccines,” the Blue Ridge Health District said in a statement. “Given the latest change in COVID-19 vaccine guidance, the Blue Ridge Health District (BRHD) is adjusting our vaccine appointment registration process.”
Blue Ridge is not the only health district under the state’s Department of Health that has made such changes.
“This process has already proven successful at our other local health departments,” the Blue Ridge Health District said in a statement.
Contacts for local health departments by locality are:
Charlottesville and Albemarle County: (434) 972-6269.
Fluvanna County: (434) 591-1960.
Greene County: (434) 985-2262.
Louisa County: (540) 967-3703.
Nelson County: (434) 263-8315.
The Blue Ridge Health District also noted in its announcement that, “At this time, BRHD health departments have limited vaccine clinics. However, COVID-19 vaccines remain widely available at local healthcare providers, pharmacies, and clinics throughout the area. Information on BRHD vaccination clinics can be found on our website. Community members can also search for COVID-19 vaccine appointments throughout the state and country using the national vaccine locator tool or by calling 1-800-232-0233.”
COVID cases have been trending down locally and nationally since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.
While the Blue Ridge Health District retired its local data portal in May of last year, the COVID rates in Charlottesville and surrounding Albemarle County are at “Low” levels, according to state.
Nationwide, there were 88,330 cases reported for the week of April 26, down 76% from the same time last year, according to most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Deaths were down a little more than 60% and hospitalizations were down a little more than 22% over that same period, according to CDC data.
The Blue Ridge Health District has been applauded in Richmond for its during the coronavirus pandemic. Last month, Democratic Del. Sally Hudson of Charlottesville introduced a resolution thanking the organization for its support.
Over the past three years, the health district has tested almost 30,000 people and administered roughly 45,000 vaccines, some of the highest rates in the entire commonwealth.